Another day, another favorable patent verdict in the land of Texas, the crowd favorite when it comes to patent litigation. This time, the scales were tipped against Google as the jury found the tech giant guilty of infringing on SimpleAir’s patent.
The verdict came hard and swift, after only a week-long trial that ended January 18 this year. The trial was held in the Eastern District of Texas. This particular district court has earned notoriety in the tech industry because of the ratio of its verdicts favoring patent holders, even when up against giant companies as this incident may show.
The patent in question, the ‘914 patent, is used in an essential aspect of the Android experience. According to SimpleAir Google has used this patent in its push notification services without paying licensing fees. This push service is what allows Google as well as other Internet services to send out instant notifications to Android devices instead of having the app check at given intervals.
For those who are not familiar with Google’s legal opponent in this matter, SimpleAir describes itself as an inventor-owned technology licensing company. In recent years, this has somewhat become synonymous to “patent troll”, a company whose sole existence relies on the ownership and licensing of its patents without having had any hand in their development.
Google has not been the only target of SimpleAir’s patent business. In 2012, it also sued Apple over a number of patents. Apple, however, chose to simply settle the matter out of court. Google did not and, unfortunately, lost. It is still unknown how Google will proceed from here given that the verdict would affect apps such as Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and more. SimpleAir is seeking damages of over $125 million. Luckily, the jury was split on the matter and another limited trial will be held to decide the amount.