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Judge Finds Google Guilty of Infringing SimpleAir Patent, Could Pay up to $125 Million in Damages

The courts just can’t cut Google a break. Earlier this week, the federal judge overseeing legal negations between Samsung and Apple ruled that a core feature of Android infringed on an Apple patent, and now a court for the Eastern District of Texas has allowed company SimpleAir to seek up to $125 million in damages from Google for patent infringement.

Judge Rodney Gilstrap, a noted supporter of “inventor-owned technology licensing company[ies]” like SimpleAir – firms that don’t produce technology but instead seek fees from infringing businesses and individuals – found that Google’s Cloud Messaging (GCM) and its deprecated predecessor infringe on patent 7,035,914.

GCM is a messaging system app developers can use to synchronize messages across multiple devices. It’s also commonly used to improve battery life by saving devices from having to check for new messages.

It’s disheartening to see companies like SimpleAir relentlessly litigate without penalty, but help could be on the way in the form of Congressional legislation: a promising bill designed to limit abuse of the court system by so-called patent trolls passed the House last December.

Hopefully, relief will come sooner rather than later.

Via: Business Wire
  • Sara Jack

    hi all

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  • starnovsky

    So funny, when the patent troll hits, it’s always handled in eastern Texas court. I think they have a special kind of judges there.

  • Manthas

    As amusing as the typo is, I don’t think “legal negations” is what you intended at the start of this article. 🙂

  • Poison

    Have you noticed that the only news we hear about Apple is how they’re suing this company or that one for patents? Not them creating something “innovative”.

    • Chris

      think again.

      You really need to educate your self child.

    • Daistaar

      Did you read the article? Nothing to do with Apple.

    • Michael Bell

      Have you noticed that the majority of what Samsung tries to do is copying something Apple has a patent on, not them creating something “innovative”?

      • Poison

        Maybe you need to do some more research. Things Android has had out for years Apple puts it on the iPhone and calls it “innovative” and “revolutionary”. Either you’re just another iSheep and clearly uninformed, or too lazy to do some actual research.

  • bogy25

    This is ridiculous and getting old. The bully, apple, needs to get a taste of their own medicine. Going forward Android (All Droids and their manufacturers) need to patent EVERYTHING they come up with. And I mean everything. apple has not been doing what they have been in the past – innovating – everyone else is doing that now. apple is suing – which is all they have left now. That and some devoted followers. But, if they do what I say, patent everything it will drown out the apple devices and leave them stuck in 2010 software and hardware. PLEASE HAPPEN – I HATE apple!!!!!!!!

    • Daistaar

      This had nothing to do with Apple. Did you read the article?

  • Shawn John

    Legislation should have been passed when the tech bubble occurred, eons ago. Now you have these firms designed to stifle innovation, cripple the technology eco-system by becoming leeches of legal loop holes. I agree, make a patent repository where innovators can dump patents and have them available for free use. Innovators — large and small would benefit, and the problem will be fixed before legislation is passed. Not to mention it could harbor more innovators to the repository to build innovative technologies and we have a world full of useful people instead of blood sucking parasites.

  • JoeTi

    I smell a rotten judge with a kickback coming his way….. everything, including corruption, is bigger in Texas.

    • TheDrunkenClam

      Baseless accusation.

      • flosserelli

        Nope. I grew up in east Texas, corruption is still alive and well there.

        • TheDrunkenClam

          Not saying it’s impossible. There is a lot of corruption in politics. But to speculate and sully someone’s name (judge) without any facts of suspicion is not fair.

          • JoeTi

            Okay, I was swinging wide there, but from what I’ve heard (that’s Hearsay, Mr councilor) from an ex cop and Sherrif in TX as well as a frm dist attn, the stories are ripe with corruption. But, sure, this judge could be an exception….

    • Mark

      Nah…when its comes to corruption Illinois is where its at

  • Tim

    Damn trolls

  • skinja

    Kyle, Droid-Life,

    please stop advocating this bill!

    That bill from congress will not help consumers. We pointed that out in the comments previously on droid life.


    This bill is tailored to protect big business and weaken smaller creators.

    • ryanM

      “The Innovation Act is aimed at keeping the effective structure of the patent system in place but reducing the incentives to send frivolous complaints, cutting down on the alleged billions of dollars of damage done by them, but not everyone agreed it would have the right effect. Groups like the National Small Business Association argue that it places an unfairly high burden on patent holders, making it too difficult for small businesses or individual inventors — rather than large companies — to protect their patents. The NSBA expressed consternation at the “alarming rate” at which patent troll legislation has moved forward: Goodlatte’s bill was introduced less than two months ago. Some universities, which develop and license patents but do not build commercial products, also say that the bill’s scope is too broad and would hurt their ability to make money from research, and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said the “point of view of the inventor” was missing from the debate.”

      From the Verge, which was linked to in the previous DL article

  • Robert King

    Charge patent owners an annual assessment if they fail to produce anything for sale using said patents. That will free up legitimate patent owners who produce consumer goods, it will discourage patent trolls who will be much less likely to hoard thousands of patents they have no intention of using, and it will give companies a reason to dump patents they have no use for–but by making it free it will spur further innovation by small businesses as well as larger corporations. Only the lawyers lose.

    • Adrynalyne

      Make sure that assessment is what they would charge others to license it too…or more.

    • Cowboydroid

      That denies the entire theory supporting patents. Patents are supposed to grant monopoly privilege of information to their “inventors” in order to justify R&D costs in bringing new products to market. People supposedly have a “right” to that abstraction, according to some proponents.

      Would you also suggest the government levy a penalty against those who refuse to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights by owning a firearm?

      How about, instead of levying a penalty, simply refuse to enforce the patent?

      • ds

        I agree with both above. Maybe some point in the middle might do.. like charge annual fees and lower compensation for unused patents so that the inventor gets enough compensation but troll companies don’t profit enough.

  • richcricketz

    The point is not that Google cant afford it, The point is will Google be able to design a work-around for this core Android feature.

    • Chris

      No. The point is we have a flawed patent system.

    • Daistaar

      It’s the same tech as iMessage. I wonder if Apple is getting sued by SimpleAir or if they licensed usage of the patent for a period of time?

  • zaggs

    If it passed the House, it will never get heard in the Senate. Harry Reid and the Democrats get too much from Apple and Microsoft to allow it.

    • Maximus

      Didn’t Google just sign a contract with the DoD however? The government is truly the village wheel. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. IIRC, android was certified with DoD version before the iOS6, and no one will ever use Windows Mobile.

    • John Legere

      Didn’t you hear, we’re deporting Cruz and Bieber back to Canada.

      • Adrynalyne

        Bieber needs to commit a felony before it will be considered 😐

        • Liderc

          You must have missed the internet today. He got a DUI last night, arrested for drag racing, being drunk, high on weed and prescription pills.

          He even admitted to being high on weed and pills lol, what a self entitled douche.

          • Adrynalyne

            They were all misdemeanor charges though.

          • Liderc

            A DUI is not a misdemeanor in any state I’m aware of. A quick google search says first DUI’s are normally misdemeanors though, so I guess I’m not surprised.

          • Adrynalyne

            I think it differs from state to state, damage involved, number of times, and age.

          • Liderc

            My brother got 2 DUI’s within 6 months and lost his license for 6 years. They also took his brand new 30,000 car. Didn’t think that was even possible, but they actually took his car and auctioned it off. We bought it at the auction lol and resold it. My family is fairly wealthy too, so it’s not like we had a bad lawyer. North Carolina is crazy about DUI’s in general though.

          • Adrynalyne

            Here too. I knew a guy that went to prison on his first DUI because he had a previous record.

          • Liderc

            What’s funny is my childhood friend’s dad had 6 DUIs and still had his license. Could never understand it, but he was super rich, which just goes to prove money buys everything. He had some highly collectable Porsches, had a DUI in every one he owned.

          • pappy53

            IMO, he should have lost his license for at least 10 years, since he was stupid enough to do it twice (twice that he got caught). I have no pity on a drunk driver.

          • Timothy Sternig

            In WI a D.U.I. doesn’t become a felony until the 4th one. True story.

          • Timothy Sternig

            It used to be the 5th one but they changed it a year ago…

          • Timothy Sternig
        • Philip J. Fry

          I think bieber has been on here the whole time. aka chris and tim242 lol

        • John Legere

          Being 19, and drag racing, with a DUI…all seem like felonies to me

          • Adrynalyne

            You would think but he was charged with misdemeanors.

  • Kyle, are you studying law?

    Your patent articles have been excellent! 🙂

    • Kyle Wiggers

      Thanks, Rthvk!

  • Philip J. Fry

    Everybody is out to get you when you’re as big as Google unfortunately.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Then apple should be getting twice the amount of lawsuits right now since they’re twice as big as google.

    • Adrynalyne

      It should be impossible to get a patent if you have never even built what is patented.

      • Cowboydroid

        It should be impossible to get a patent.

        • John Legere

          That doesn’t make any sense. At all.

          • Adrynalyne

            It needs to be abolished or fixed. Either one is fine with me.

          • Cowboydroid

            There is no “fixing” the patent system. It is inherently corrupt.

          • Adrynalyne

            Anything that is broken can be fixed. Will it be fixed? Probably not.

          • Cowboydroid

            It can be “fixed” by abolishing it. Doctors don’t “fix” cancer by just trimming off the dead cells. They destroy the cancer.

          • michael arazan

            Corporations run the government , and corporations like everything broke and no regulations whatsoever. It is so bad now that corporations have their own employees working in the upper echelons of the agencies that were put there to regulate them. A simple google search will show a list of employees that worked for a major company that go to work at the government agency that regulates their former employer to keep the statue quo. Like Monsanto has employees in the FDA , JP Morgan has employees in the treasury and SEC, the list is endless. Makes me wonder till how long corporations have 100% control of the government.

          • Cowboydroid

            No regulations? We have the most regulations that we’ve ever had at any point in history. The Federal Register is EIGHTY THOUSAND PAGES.

            Yes, corporations buy politicians, who then get in office and pass “regulations” that are designed to protect established business interests.

            The only way to end that practice is to end government’s power to regulate. You’re not going to improve the situation by giving government even more power to regulate, as corporations will simply try even harder to capture government regulatory agencies.

          • Cowboydroid

            Patents don’t make any sense. At all.

          • John Legere

            Yeah, who am i kidding. I want a bunch of companies making the same sh!t.

          • [A]dri[A]n

            They already do…

          • Cowboydroid

            The result of the patent system is what you see right here. Apparently, you prefer this.

    • Michael Bell

      Apple is bigger than Google…

  • AbbyZFresh

    $125 million is chump change to a search giant. They’ll make that lost money back within a week or 2.

    • It takes them a full week to make $125 million? O_o

      • NexusPhan

        13 days before tax, actually.

      • SchwannyT

        No it takes them a full week to find that much change in the couch cracks. But only 3 days to find 125 million potato chips….

    • Ej McCarty

      You’re missing the point that it’s bullzhit that companies are doing this in the first place. Imagine if this kind of stuff happened in every marketplace and not just cell phones

      • wuzzranger

        EJ is right, smaller companies trolling around for patents is an open door policy for other idiotic ideas.

      • Cowboydroid

        This kind of stuff does happen in other markets.

        • Ej McCarty

          Not to the extent it’s been happening in the mobile industry over patents that should be thrown. Showing a word before you type it is not exactly groundbreaking stuff

          • Cowboydroid

            Sorry, but it does. It’s more apparent in the mobile industry because the mobile industry has a lot of tech blogs covering everything going on, with geeks like you and me reading it.

        • Droid Ronin

          How come Ford never sued Toyota for making a vehicle that has four wheels and seats?

          • guest

            probably because Karl Benz had those patents 15 years before Ford started making cars

          • Cowboydroid

            Karl Benz didn’t invent the internal combustion engine, or the steam engine, or the wagon. He just put an engine on a wagon.

          • Cowboydroid

            Because Ford didn’t invent the automobile. Nobody did. It was simply a motorized version of a wagon, which has existed for two thousand years. And whoever decided to put an engine on a wagon didn’t invent the engine, either. It was also a development of prior engineering.

            All “inventions” are just developments of prior efforts at improving technology. Nobody has a “right” to exclusively use information. It’s a ridiculous concept. Only physical property can be owned. Ideas are not physical property, they are abstractions.

          • jsternbe

            Actually, Ford was the victor in a patent war in the early part of the century about the right to manufacture cars without licensing fees. George Selden claimed a patent over all automobiles in the U.S., although he had never actually built one. Most manufacturers gave in and paid. Anyway, patent trolling has been going on for a long time.


    • Fresh360

      But that’s how patent trolls work, they ask for an amount small enough not to hurt the companies but big enough to satiate themselves before they move on to the next victim, sorta like mosquitoes.

    • Maxim∑

      No 125 Million is a lot, even for Google they could have done a lot with that money