Google forced to pay $85m over patent infringement

Google forced to pay $85m over patent infringement

Summary: SimpleAir has won $85 million in damages over patents relating to Google's Cloud Messaging (GCM) and Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) services.

TOPICS: Google, Legal

A federal judge has ordered Google to pay damages of $85 million to SimpleAir after infringing the firm's patents through mobile device notifications.


Overseen by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap for the Eastern District of Texas, the court case brought forward by technology licensing firm SimpleAir claimed that Google infringed SimpleAir’s U.S. Patent No. 7,035,914, which details a system and method for data communication connecting online networks computers in real-time.

The case focuses on Google Cloud Messaging and Cloud to Device Messaging. Notification messages are sent to and from smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating system. Push notifications are used within apps including Facebook, Gmail and Twitter.

SimpleAir's claims were originally filed in 2011 against a number of firms including Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Nokia. The other firms settled, leaving Google to argue against the patent dispute alone. In January, a separate jury said that Google infringed the patent, and five claims of infringement were valid.

Within this case, limited to financial restitution only, SimpleAir sought as much as $146 million in damages. In response, Google said such claims were worth no more than $6 million, and this amount should cover past and future use of the intellectual property -- which expires in 2017. However, the jury decided that Google owes $85 million for past infringement, and future damages will be decided at later hearings.

"The jury understood that Google profits tremendously from its infringing use of our invention and we believe that is reflected in its verdict," said John Payne, who is the lead inventor and majority owner of SimpleAir. "We appreciate the jury’s service and their fairness in considering and validating a large damages claim made by such a small company against a company that is so widely known."

A Google spokesman told ZDNet that the company does not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

Topics: Google, Legal

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  • all patents must die

    and all patent trolls must be eradicated!
    SimpleAir should have dropped the lawsuit after they got the money from M$ and leave FOSS alone.
    LlNUX Geek
    • We still need patents

      and we always will. We just need to fix the system
      • Definitely in favor of fixing the system...

        ...but the devil is in the details, and lots of people profit by the current permissive US patent system and they'll fight tooth and nail to keep it.

        That's not advising despair, merely reminding people what they're up against.
        John L. Ries
        • Fixing it is relatively simple.

          Just obey the court - they already said mathematics can't be patented.

          And all software is nothing but a use of mathematics.
          • The courts enforce this crazy system

            You will get no help from them
          • Now that is a counsel of despair

            The proper thing to do with bad precedent is to challenge it; over and over if need be. If it's seen to be bad, it will be overturned eventually.
            John L. Ries
  • $85 Million?

    Losing that much money is to Google about as costly as you or I losing a few dead skin cells...
  • Wish I was dumb enough to work in the patent office.

    They issued a patent for you've got mail? Really!?!
    • Dumb enough to be a judge

      Or domb enough to be a judge. After all, the dump patent officer reads reads the application, spends 20 minutes on it and grants it before running off to Starbucks for a cup of Joe. The Judge, meanwhile, probably spends weeks or even months hearing arguments pro and con and *still* decides to validate this nonsense.
  • I'm hardly a fan of Google's

    but no one should be the victim of companies like SimpleAir
    • Why?

      Do you doubt the validity of SimpleAir's patents? If so, on what grounds?
      John L. Ries
    • at last a small company gets recognition!

      Hi :)
      This sounds like an unusual case of the patents system actually working for a change.

      The usual "patent trolling" is where large companies buy-up vast amounts of patents for things where they had put no effort into R&D. The people who had the sleeplessness nights and put all the effort into the thing get nothing except some measly "one-off" hand-out that bears no relationship with the revenue-stream the big corporation gets as a result. Then the big corporations block small initiatives, start-ups and old granny's by claiming ridiculous amount in 'damages'.

      This case looks like the little guys won against the might of the big companies for a change. I'm a bit sad they went after a FOSS company and even sadder that the FOSS one wasn't the first to just give them the credit but i'm sure they had good reason to, on both counts.
      Regards from
      Tom :)
      • Um, no

        SimpleAir had already been recognized as a patent troll even before this decision.
  • Ah, the Eastern District of Texas

    Where common sense and logic goes to die.