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Google Patents The Almighty Buck The Courts Your Rights Online

Google Wins $1.3 Million From Patent Troll 35

Posted by timothy
from the may-the-bridge-collapse-upon-you-and-your-family dept.
An anonymous reader writes Earlier this year, Google sued Beneficial Innovations for breach of contract, ostensibly in defense of its Doubleclick ad technology clients against whom Beneficial Innovations had filed suits despite Google having already paid licensing fees for the technology. Following Google's jury trial win, the company was originally awarded only 'nominal damages of $1 and a judicial order stopping Beneficial from going after more Doubleclick customers.' Now, however, the presiding judge has ruled that Google is entitled to some attorneys' fees in the amount of $1.3 million (PDF).
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Google Wins $1.3 Million From Patent Troll

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  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:31AM (#47773531) Homepage
    So you need a judicial order now to stop lawyers from suing people who have paid to use someone patents?
    • Re:Judicial Order (Score:5, Interesting)

      by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:41AM (#47773587) Homepage Journal

      Short version: yes, how else are you going to practically enforce that provision?

      The long version touches on due process, and how summary dismissals aren't enough of a disincentive, but I think if you tried to imagine the full narrative yourself, you'd see the same problems.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wiredlogic (135348)

        The incentive is to prosecute the troll lawyers for barratry. Too bad DAs only selectively administer the law when it comes to keeping their colleagues in line.

      • "you, troll, die! all assets to the defendant. if this is not effected within 5 business days, this court will personally come after your sorry ass with an Elfin sword."

        something like that.

    • Assuming the summary is correct (I'm not new here, I swear), you need to read more carefully. The jury made it so that Google's clients couldn't be sued for infringing patents that Google had already paid to license. The judicial order was simply for Google to receive attorneys' fees.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:33AM (#47773543) Homepage

    despite Google having already paid licensing fees for the technology.

    Since Google is paying the patent troll licensing fees, this doesn't sound much like a win.

    The article also doesn't explain why someone would sue even though they were being paid. Did Beneficial Innovations (OMG, even the name is trolling) not realize these customers were covered?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:57AM (#47773687)

      The article also doesn't explain why someone would sue even though they were being paid. Did Beneficial Innovations (OMG, even the name is trolling) not realize these customers were covered?

      If I'm reading the follow through articles right, Google and Beneficial reached an agreement about Google using the patents. This included terms about Google's customers using Google products based on those patents. Beneficial tried to argue that some organisations were using the patent-involving products outside the terms of the agreement with Google, and so were violating the patents themselves. They tried to sue those organisations, so Google stepped in to slap them down.

  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:45AM (#47773629) Homepage Journal
    This was a breach of contract suit over a settlement between Google and Beneficial, under which Beneficial wasn't supposed to bring infringement suits against Google customers. They did, hence the breach. The settlement included a provision under which a prevailing party could get attorney's fees after a breach, and this was just the judge awarding those fees.

    That's not to say that there aren't people winning money from patent trolls - there are, in other cases, and the lower standard for awarding fees to the defendant is a result of the Supreme Court's decision in Octane Fitness last April. But this isn't one of those - this is more like Google suing the guy who paints the fences at the Googleplex for doing a shitty job, and then getting attorney's fees under their existing contract.

    • Google paid the [legal] protection money for its affiliates, and the racket still smashed in the windows of the affiliates' shops.

      Any two-bit thug can tell you how that works out.

  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @10:01AM (#47773721)

    Just $ 1.3 million for attorney's fees? And I've been telling clients they should have $ 3 million set aside for fees if they want to pursue a patent lawsuit.

    But, I guess this is more breach of contract than a real patent suit, so maybe the "low" fees aren't too surprising.

    • Just $ 1.3 million for attorney's fees? And I've been telling clients they should have $ 3 million set aside for fees if they want to pursue a patent lawsuit.

      But, I guess this is more breach of contract than a real patent suit, so maybe the "low" fees aren't too surprising.

      That - this suit didn't really have anything to do with patents, there was no claim construction or Markman hearing, there weren't prior art searches, invalidity contentions, expert reports, etc. It was just a straightforward breach of contract.

  • by Cardoor (3488091) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @11:36AM (#47774649)
    google winning a $1.3mm award is like you or me finding a crumpled $5 bill on the ground on the way to the liquor store

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