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Company says Google wrongly using patent

By Robin Y. Richardson
Jan. 13, 2014 at 11:40 p.m.


Internet search engine Google is back in Marshall's federal court this week, fighting a lawsuit filed by Simple Air Inc. that accuses the search engine of patent infringement.

The patent in the suit covers an invention relating to a system and method for transmission of data. The lawsuit, which was filed in September 2011, accuses Google of infringing the patent by using, selling or offering for sale products and services claimed by the patent, including products or services relating to the generation, processing, and/or delivery of content, notifications and updates to or for mobile computing devices, without a license or permission from the plaintiff.

Simple Air is alleging that Google commits infringement by transferring notifications to Android phones.

The company is seeking a lump sum royalty of $146 million.

"We're going to show you Google's system does everything in that claim," said Greg Dovel, lead counsel for Simple Air told jurors in opening arguments.

"The claim invention says using this invention with any computing device. When Google uses this to transfer notification to this computer device, they're infringing," said Dovel said.

"They," he said of Google, "say Facebook and Twitter is the notification source; we're not the notification source. We're going to show you for many notifications, they are the notification source," he said.

Mitch Stockwell, representing Google, said the dispute in the cause is whether or not Google's system actually uses Simple Air's patented technology.

"We think there's some fundamental differences between their patent and our messaging server," argued Stockwell.

"The patent requires you deliver messages to multiple devices, multiple receivers. Google delivers the message to one particular (phone)," he said.

Stockwell further argued that Simple Air's patent is invalid. He said a company named SkyTel, which managed a nationwide paging service, created the invention first. He said Google will have the architect of that service to testify as a witness in the case.

"SkyTel had the same thing as (Simple Air), but they predated them," Stockwell contended.

"The law is you can't patent what's not new," he contended.

Stockwell noted that Google's Android mobile operating system is the software used on the Android phone and is offered for free.

He noted in 2010, Google introduced its Google messaging services. In 2012, it came out with an official version, which was deployed and offered to other app providers.

"Facebook can use it; Twitter and Linked-in," Stockwell said, naming a few. "They use it for free.

"We don't charge them. We don't charge consumers."

He said in Google's messaging service, Google only transmits the message to the phone company.

Stockwell said Google does not assign addresses of receiving devices. Google dose not transmit multiple receiving devices, and Google does not parse or divide the data.

He said the claim in Simple Air's patent would require Google to assign the address – not Facebook.

"Simple Air System is about customizing messages based on what the customers want," said Stockwell, noting the plaintiff's invention receives the message, divides the message and transmits that message to multiple users.

"In Google's system, that info is sent to one device; it doesn't broadcast it to multiple devices, multiple receivers," he said. "We merely forward messages to a phone. We're not going to break or divide the content of a message.

"Facebook sends a message to a particular user and we will deliver that message. We're not going to look at it, edit it. We're not going to divide it up. We're not going to post it on Facebook."

He further argued that Simple Air never told Google about the patent before filing suit. He said the company sued Google "out of the blue."

"Google's success didn't come from copying the patent or infringing," said Stockwell. "It came from the hard work of employees."

The attorney said the amount in damages the company is seeking is not reasonable.

"They're trying to convince you that they're entitled to between $12 million and $179 million dollars," said Stockwell. "That's an (astounding) amount of money.

He contended that it's even more surprising that they would ask for such a large amount considering the fact that Google does not charge for its services.

"Simple Air is trying to convince you Google would fundamentally charge its business model and say Good would charge customers to get notifications," said Stockwell. "About 90 percent of the messages are going to free apps.

He referred to Simple Air's claim that Google is charging users $12 for notifications as "imaginary revenue."

The trial continues today with U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap presiding.

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