Google must pay $5 million to Bedrock for infringing on Linux patents related to information storage, search and retrieval. People disagree on who is right or wrong.
pay $5 million in damages for infringing on a Linux patent owned by defunct
company Bedrock Computer Technologies LLC, according to a jury verdict
in the Eastern District of Texas
court April 15.
The patent is
for methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval
using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of
filed its patent-infringement suit in 2009 against Google, Yahoo, MySpace,
Amazon.com, PayPal and others-successfully argued that Google violated its
patent by using its linked list storage, search and information-retrieval
technology in Linux servers.
Florian Mueller said
Bedrock identified its patented technology
in a portion of the Linux kernel. Google and many other Internet companies use
this technology in Linux servers housed in their data centers.
Google took a
defiant position in a statement e-mailed to eWEEK April 21, vowing to continue
to defend against such attacks on the open-source community.
recent explosion in patent litigation is turning the world's information
highway into a toll road, forcing companies to spend millions and millions of
dollars defending old, questionable patent claims, and wasting resources that
would be much better spent investing in new technologies for users and creating
jobs," Google said.
presume to be also referring to Oracle's current patent infringement lawsuit
against the search giant, in which the software maker accused
Google of infringing seven Java patents
and other copyrights.
To wit, while
the $5 million payout to Bedrock is a drop in the bucket for a company with
$36.7 billion in cash, Mueller believes this verdict could have greater
implications for Google's Linux-based Android operating system.
Google might have to modify the Linux kernel it distributes with Android in
order to remove any infringing code that Android applications might use.
generally, this doesn't bode well for the 41 Android-related patent-infringement
suits that are going on at this stage," Mueller wrote. "For example,
if Google can't defend itself successfully against one patent held by a little
non-practicing entity from Texas, what does this mean for Oracle's lawsuit over
seven virtual machine patents?"
pundit Steven Vaughan-Nichols disagreed, arguing
that the patent verdict was a "bad
patent decision" by a court district prone to being friendly to patent
trolls that patent technologies, and lie and wait for other companies to use
Google to appeal. Bedrock, meanwhile, has called for an injunction against
Google to stop it from using its software in its Linux servers.