Google loses 5 million dollars over a Linux patent
April 22nd, 2011 - 12:51 pm ET by J. G.
In a lawsuit filed for patent violation related to Linux, Google has been ordered to pay 5 million dollars in damages and interest to Bedrock Computer Technologies.
In attempting to gain control of 6000 of Nortel Networks patents for 900 million dollars, Google cited their reason for the purchase was due to the increased number of legal suits filed in the United States related to patent violations. Companies labelled patent trolls don’t hesitate in attacking others they believe to have breached their rights so as to obtain royalties from the guilty party.
And when talking about Patent trolls, it appears that Google has just fallen victim to one. In Texas – a jurisdiction where a lot of patent holders are curiously registered, a court has found Bedrock Computer Technologies has been wronged by Google. The finding states that Google has stolen a patent which affects the Linux kernel and has been ordered to pay 5 million dollars in damages and interest.
The strange patent in question is based on "methods and devices for storing data and the restitution of information using a hashing technique with external chaining and the deletion of expired data on the fly". This is all rather ambiguous, but apparently Google stole this patent and used it on their Linux servers.
The fine is not an issue for Google, but Bedrock previously filed a complaint in June 2009 against Yahoo!, MySpace, Amazon, PayPal and AOL, with the spread of the litigation now being what is most concerning.
Florian Mueller, a specialist in intellectual property rights states on her blog FOSS Patents (Free and Open Source Software) that this guilty finding against Google will have "major implications for the IT industry in general and for Linux in particular".
According to him, numerous companies who use Linux are already worried about patent holders who will come looking for royalty payment, and believes that this judgement will see "a lot more people deciding to pay".