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Google hit with $20M verdict in patent case in Marshall

By Robin Y. Richardson
Feb. 17, 2017 at 4 a.m.


A federal jury in Marshall ordered search engine giant Google to pay $20 million in damages to a Texas inventor following a weeklong trial, held here last week with U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap presiding.

In the case, Alfonso Cioffi and the three daughters of his late partner, former Lucent engineer Allen Rozman, filed suit against the company, alleging that Google's Chrome web browser infringed three of the plaintiff's reissued patents related to a system and method for protecting a computer system from malicious software.

In addition to finding that the mogul did infringe the patents-in-suit, the jury also determined that Google did not prove its case of invalidity.

Cioffi filed the suit in 2013 collectively with Rozman's daughters, Melanie, Megan and Morgan Rozman. All four plaintiffs are of Murphy. The late co-inventor, Allen Rozman, resided in Garland.

The lawsuit states Google is in the business of providing web browsers (Chrome), mobile web browsers (Chrome for Android) and hardware installed with Chrome and Chrome for Android (Chromebooks and Nexus mobile devices), and that a significant portion of Google's revenues derives from the use of these technologies.

The lawsuit accused Google of directly infringing the patents by making, using, offering to sell and selling all versions of Google Chrome in existence of the filing of the complaint, and all later versions of Google Chrome for Android, and all later versions of the Chromebook series, and all similar computers sold by Google with Chrome pre-installed, and the Nexus devices.

Legal news service Law360 noted that in 2014, Judge Gilstrap initially dismissed the case after the plaintiffs conceded that they couldn't win on the court's interpretation of the patents. The plaintiffs appealed and in November 2015 the Federal Circuit reversed the judge's decision to throw out the case, reviving the litigation.

The jury in the case ordered that the $20 million in damages be paid by Google in a running royalty instead of a one-time lump sum.

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