Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

Summary: Google, Microsoft, and AOL have found themselves the target of a lawsuit over a Louisiana company's patent on street-level views in online maps.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Legal, Google, Microsoft
37

Google, Microsoft, and AOL have found themselves the target of a lawsuit over a Louisiana company's patent on street-level views in online maps.

Details are fairly sparse, according to the original Reuters report. But Transcenic, which filed the complaint, says that Google Street View, Microsoft Streetside, and AOL's MapQuest all infringe on its patent for “Spatial referenced photographic system with navigation arrangement,” which a quick search shows was filed for in 2000 and granted in 2006.

In plain English, it appears Transcenic holds the patent on taking panoramic images and navigating them, Google Street View-style. The company is seeking both damages and a court order for Google, et al, to stop infringing on their patent.

That said, more searches turn up very little background on Transcenic. The court documents list its business as follows: "Transcenic has developed and continues to develop spatial referenced image capture, organization and display technology, including the patented technology." But as near as I can figure, the company doesn't have so much as a website, which strikes me as odd for a business that's had a patent on file for so long.

That strangeness aside, it appears the patent is real, and so is the lawsuit. None of the companies involved have issued a statement on the case at press time.

And while Google, at least, has its hands full with other legal battles - notably, the hubbub over the now-infamous Google Street View car Wi-Fi snooping incident and the increasingly messy fight against a consortium of rivals over Android IP - Transcenic's lawsuit is just one more headache for the search giant to deal with, and one more settlement to pay out if it loses.

Topics: Legal, Google, Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

37 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Transcenic

    Patent troll?
    cpt_slog@...
    • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

      @cpt_slog@... And so a country lead by lawyers is steadily marching towards bankruptcy.
      tatiGmail
      • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

        @tatiGmail
        +1
        safesax2002
      • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

        @tatiGmail
        +2

        ...although I would put it more bluntly
        "...and so a country led by lawyers towards bankruptcy is steadily marching..."
        cosuna
      • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

        @cosuna "towards bankruptcy is steadily marching" is tortured word order.
        skippe93
      • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

        @tatiGmail
        It is already bankrupt by trillions of dollars! It was bankrupted by an economic system that values short term gains over national interest and only needed share markets for that. Then you got politicians who cut taxes, increased expenditure and privatised the nation's assets.
        mick@...
    • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

      @cpt_slog@... I would indeed think this is just yet another patent troll
      rcm0502@...
    • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

      @cpt_slog@... WYS ++
      uaamf@...
  • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

    Once again, software/web patent lawsuits. Enough is enough already, they're obviously not working and there is no REAL need for them other than to stifle innovation. They've only created a niche market for a new breed of lawyers and taken billions of dollars out of companies pockets, where it could have spent that money on more R&D and innovate further.

    Time to drop them, the EU and most of the world do well without them.
    Jayton
  • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

    OMG. That's all.
    Bill4
  • So anyone with a website with a panormaic picture of their business on it

    can technically be sued if it's used to help someone locate the building visually if they with to stop by?

    Sure it's a bit of a stretch but arguable in court if they wanted.
    Will Pharaoh
    • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

      @Will Pharaoh
      I think it is more of navigating with the panoramic pictures and not having one or two pictures showing what your location looks like, but the courts may decide otherwise and then we all problems.
      techrepublic@...
    • If it was that simple, 'prior art' wold have killed the patent

      @Will Pharaoh
      Patanjali
  • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

    Just another example of Google and MS stealing IP without compensation. Can't they search for IP?

    Also, what is AOL???
    Gr8Music
    • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

      @Gr8Music exactly. I have a couple patents. It does not matter if I am using them or not and I expect to be paid if they are used for profit, and if they are used for profit without permission, the fee goes up exponentially. It was my own work, not someone else's to take for profit.
      opcom
      • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

        @opcom "It was my own work, not someone else's"

        The biggest issue with these patents nowadays though, is that these companies such as Transcenic (and many others), do NO work. They just patent things they've seen or heard about, and then sit back and wait for someone else to do the actual work of putting it to use. And then they sue those companies for "patent infringement". It's actually a joke that there are IP patents anyway. So I can sit here and think "what would be cool, that some company will eventually use in their software"... then patent a bunch of "cool" crap, and wait. Eventually, I could sue someone over it.

        Now, if this company had coded software, or in some other way developed this technology, then that would be different. But it's not the case.
        waterhzrd
    • RE: Google, Microsoft, AOL sued over Street View patent

      @Gr8Music

      "AOL" is an old version of myspace, facebook, and google+.
      opcom
      • Cool....

        NT
        cosuna
      • You forgot to add...

        @opcom :

        ...which was used by Austin Powers... in his ShagMobile....
        cosuna
    • Righhhhhht.

      @Gr8Music
      That was a believable post.
      Will Pharaoh