Over the past few years, a lot of patent holders have been serving cease-and-desist notices at just about anybody they can get in their sights. With legislation not keeping pace with twenty-first century technology for a multitude of reasons, suing alleged defaulters for supposed breaches of Intellectual Property rights have become big business of late. Companies or individuals, no matter how big or small, are all fair game for patent trolls. Although most individuals and even corporates choose to settle, once threatened with lawsuits in cases concerning alleged IP-related infringements, the Mountain View, California-based technology giant, Google, was not going to take such allegations lying down, once hit with a lawsuit by a patent-licensing company called SimpleAir.
SimpleAir is based out of Plano, Texas, and is owned by Mr. John Payne, who was formerly the CEO of the stamps.com website. The company has already hit some of the most well-known tech companies with claims of patent infringements, and most have quietly settled those claims out-of-court. The list of SimpleAir's targets is as long as it is impressive, and includes names like Microsoft, Apple, Motorola, Samsung, Blackberry, CBS, eBay, Amazon, Yahoo and MySpace among other notable companies. A couple of years back, the company decided it was time for it to go after one of the last remaining behemoths of the American tech scene that it wasn't able to corner thus far – Google. SimpleAir hit the search giant with a lawsuit for an alleged breach of its US patent number 7,035,914, which has to do with messaging and data transmission. The lawsuit claimed that Google was apparently infringing upon that particular patent through the push notification services offered on Android.
While a jury at a Marshall, Texas patent court did hold Google responsible for the infringement, SimpleAir was awarded $85 million – roughly half of what the company was seeking, which was between $127 and $146 million. Emboldened by the large payout, SimpleAir decided it was time for them to go after Google again, seeking over $100 million this time around as well, citing violations of its US Patent Nos. 8,601,154 and 8,572,279. The company of course, would have expected the search giant to be once bitten, twice shy, having already lost in a jury trial earlier. While SimpleAir might have been expecting a quick out-of-court settlement this time around, what it wouldn't have bargained for is the fact that Google is made of sterner stuff. The tech giant did challenge SimpleAir's claims in court, and what followed was a week-long jury trial. Following which, the jury found Google to have not breached the two aforementioned patents.
It wasn't however, a complete victory for Google, as its efforts to get the contentious patents invalidated, were rejected in no uncertain terms by the jury at the Texas patent court. A lawyer for SimpleAir, Mr. John Eichmann meanwhile, said that his client would appeal the verdict in all likelihood. It remains to be seen how that turns out, if and when SimpleAir does choose to appeal the verdict by the Texas jury at a higher court.