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Google Wins $1.3 Million From Patent Troll

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the may-the-bridge-collapse-upon-you-and-your-family dept.

Google 35

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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Justice for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773519)

with money. Lots of money.

Judicial Order (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47773531)

So you need a judicial order now to stop lawyers from suing people who have paid to use someone patents?

Re:Judicial Order (4, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47773587)

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:Judicial Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773839)

And pretty soon someone will sue to remove the judicial order so you need another ruling to stop that.

From there, it's lawsuits all the way down.

Re:Judicial Order (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47773855)

People who continuously pay $1.3 million settlements can't afford lawyers and court fees after a while.

Re:Judicial Order (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47774033)

assuming they ever pay. I've been involved in a few court ordered settlements before and have never seen a penny. In all cases the offender simply made it more expensive to get the money than the money was worth. It's a very easy thing to do. It's unfortunately Judges aren't more sympathetic in these sorts of cases.

Re:Judicial Order (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47774957)

Yes, but now that's something that's executively enforceable. The cops CAN come knock down your door over it, and the state use of force would be justified.

Our whole legal system is a giant fence that's designed to protect you from someone bigger, more numerous, and better armed from messing with you, until we're good and sure that it's better off that someone did.

Re:Judicial Order (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47779717)

Yes, but now that's something that's executively enforceable. The cops CAN come knock down your door over it, and the state use of force would be justified.

But they wont. Trust me, I tried, they don't care. You can go to court, but just to file is $1k and if there's any legal work at all you're in the tens of thousands immediately. AND, in the end, even if you do win, they will likely just file bankruptcy and laugh at you.

Re: Judicial Order (4, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 months ago | (#47776389)

I don't think Google would even notice $1.3M. I'm sure their nazgul legal team will spare no expense to see that these trolls pay every penny so that other trolls think twice before trying to rip off Google out its customers.

Re: Judicial Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47776463)

You can file for their bank account to be levied. Another court case. People always pay before that exposure of assets. Of course you need to file and serve again.

Re:Judicial Order (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 2 months ago | (#47777107)

I've been involved in a few court ordered settlements before and have never seen a penny.

Today's your lucky day! [google.com]

Re:Judicial Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47782363)

Apparently Google is paying for a patent license. If the troll doesn't pay the legal fees, Google can withhold its payments. Google may also be able to claim the patents outright.

Re:Judicial Order (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 2 months ago | (#47774149)

If there is a true free market in legal services, someone should go to them and say "I will be the lawyer in your losing case for only $500k in legal fees!"

Re:Judicial Order (2, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 2 months ago | (#47774011)

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.

I would argue relief is takeover (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 2 months ago | (#47774753)

"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.

Re:Judicial Order (2)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 2 months ago | (#47773717)

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.

Re:Judicial Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773907)

Don't forget the $1 - they also won a $1 settlement in addition to the 1.3 million dollars in legal fees. Can you believe it takes 1.3 million dollars in legal fees to argue a clear cut case of "we licensed this tech and use it in our advertising; our customers don't use it - they are customers of ours and WE use it" (straight up breach of contact). As always, the lawyers win. They got $1.3 million (just on the Google side of the case). Google gets $1 and the right to feel good.

Re:Judicial Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47779109)

Don't forget the $1 - they also won a $1 settlement in addition to the 1.3 million dollars in legal fees. Can you believe it takes 1.3 million dollars in legal fees to argue a clear cut case [...]

Correction: It took $1.3 million dollars for Google to do that, because Google doesn't fuck around. Their lawyers will bury you, and then you'll pay their lawyers for the burial fees.

Is this really a win? (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 months ago | (#47773543)

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?

Google was defending customers (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773601)

a.
Google is the prevailing party because it
has obtained a greater relief on the
contract
Google was not an original party but interven
ed in this case on behalf of the Accused
Google Customers, who were sued by Beneficial
for allegedly infrin
ging the ’702 and ’943
Patents. In its Complaint for Intervention, G
oogle answered Beneficial’s infringement claims
against the Accused Google Custom
ers, raising, among other things
, “license” and “exhaustion” as
affirmative defenses.

Re:Google was defending customers (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 months ago | (#47777383)

Formatting text like that *always* makes it look like attempted poetry.

Re:Is this really a win? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Not really over patents (5, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 months ago | (#47773629)

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.

Re:Not really over patents (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 months ago | (#47773965)

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.

The Holy Roman Empire (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773703)

Was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.

- Voltaire

Beneficial Innovations...

That's all? (2)

mbone (558574) | about 2 months ago | (#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.

Re:That's all? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 months ago | (#47775277)

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.

Against a *doubleclick* technique (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773749)

Folks, this is doubleclick. For once, I say "yay troll". Charge *huge* licensing fees.

This is like watching a lawyer sue a lawyer.

Re:Against a *doubleclick* technique (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 months ago | (#47773961)

So we let douchebags get away with being douchebags because we don't like the douchebags they're being douchebags to?

What could possibly go wrong?

Re: Against a *doubleclick* technique (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47774005)

The douchebag enemy of my douchebag enemy is my douchebag friend

found money (2)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 2 months ago | (#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

Re:found money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47775839)

It's not much to Google, but it sends a message to the troll.

Re: found money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47776579)

Right. As stated before, most trolls cant continue pay 3m for their cases. 3,6,9,12. You get it adds up and this method may reduce some bottom feeders claims.

found money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47788805)

Hey, it's a fiver. Good enough for MD40...

Summary wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47777157)

Google didn't "win" anything. They were paid $1.3m for attorney's fees, but paid over $100k out of pocket for expert witnesses. So, even though they "won", they still lost over $100k.

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