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Friday, 29 August 2014 11:03

Google trolls a patent troll

Written by Nick Farrell

They will not do that again

A patent troll is probably regretting the day it thought it could make a swift buck out of Google. Not only did Beneficial Innovations case against Google fail, but now Google wants a piece of the company. In January, Google won a jury trial against a so-called "patent troll" called, which sued dozens of media companies over online ad patents.

Google went on the offensive and said that Beneficial's 2011 patent lawsuit against a dozen major media companies was a breach of contract. Google had already paid for a license, and then Beneficial went ahead and sued lots of companies that were simply users of Google's Doubleclick ad tech. Google was furious because Beneficial went back on the terms of its own license agreement, pursuing our customers for simply using our licensed services.

Google only won nominal damages of $1 and a judicial order stopping Beneficial from going after more Doubleclick customers. But now, the judge overseeing the case has ruled that Google can also collect some attorneys' fees. In a 16-page order (PDF), US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap found that Google was the prevailing party on the issue of breach of contract and that the company's fee request was reasonable.

Gilstrap ordered Google to be paid a total of just more than $1.3 million in fees. It is lower than Google had asked for, because Gilstrap found that Google was not entitled to include the costs of its expert witness into the fee total. Beating a patent troll, particularly this one, on its "home turf" in East Texas is significant. Beneficial is owned by Sheldon Goldberg, a Nevada lawyer who became one of the earliest well-known "patent trolls" after claiming he had patented tournament-style card games online.

In past lawsuits, Beneficial has gone after other well-known media names including CNET, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and job sites like CareerBuilder.

Nick Farrell

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