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SimpleAir seeks $125 million from Google

By Robin Y. Richardson
Jan. 22, 2014 at 10 p.m.


Attorneys for SimpleAir announced Tuesday that they will seek damages in excess of $125 million for Google's infringement after winning the patent infringement suit last Saturday, following a week-long trial here in U.S. District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap's courtroom.

"The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on the amount of damages to award for Google's infringement. The damage issue will be decided by a separate jury in a limited second trial," SimpleAir said in a press release. "SimpleAir will seek damages in excess of $125 million for Google's infringement in the damages retrial."

The jury deliberated through Friday night and returned Saturday, reaching a verdict about 3 p.m. in favor of the technology licensing company, finding Google guilty of infringing its patent. The jury also determined that the claims in the patent were valid.

Attorneys for SimpleAir are happy with the verdict.

"SimpleAir is pleased the jury found its patent is valid and infringed by Google. We are grateful for the hard work the jury, the court, and its staff put into this case," Jeff Eichmann, co-counsel for SimpleAir, said in an emailed statement. "We look forward to addressing the issue of damages in the next trial and getting an award of compensatory damages for Google's infringement."

John Payne, lead inventor and majority owner of SimpleAir, concurred.

"We are grateful for the jury's hard work in this case and pleased with their verdict," Payne said in the press release from the company. "There was a lot of information presented to the jury and they did an exceptional job figuring out what mattered and what didn't.

"We look forward to addressing the issue of damages in the second trial and hope the jury in that trial will be as dedicated as this one was."

The case was the first of three lawsuits SimpleAir filed against Google. In this suit, SimpleAir alleged that, as a "push notification provider," Google's push notification services for the Android Smartphones and tablets infringed the claims in the patent.

According to SimpleAir the accused services are the Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) and Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) services. The services are used by Google to process and send instant notifications for Android applications, such a Facebook, Twitter and Gmail.

During closing arguments, attorneys for Google argued that their systems didn't infringe SingleAir's patent because the patent involved breaking up the data that's transmitted and assigning addresses.

"Google doesn't break up a message; it doesn't assign addresses," Google's lead attorney Mitch Stockwell said. "It doesn't send that message to multiple receivers and devices. That's a fundamental difference."

In his closing arguments for SimpleAir, Eichmann contended that Google was trying to confuse the jury.

"They changed words all through the claim and is suggesting that this entire system is only used for one phone and that they don't send to multiple devices. They are trying to confuse you," Eichmann said to jurors.

He expressed how important the case was to SimpleAir and its attorneys of Dovel & Luner based in Santa Monica, Calif.

"Why are all these people from California here? (It's because) this is the single most important court in the country for patent cases," said Eichmann.

SimpleAir owns eight U.S. patents and several pending patent applications related to wireless content delivery, mobile applications, and push notifications. The company has licensed its inventions to many major technology companies including Microsoft and Apple.

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