After losing a patent infringement lawsuit to a technology licensing company by the name of SimpleAir, Google could be looking at paying up to $125 million. The subject of the lawsuit is patent No. 7035914, which covers a “system and method for transmission of data”.
SimpleAir originally brought Google to court after claiming that Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) and Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) services both violated the patent. These services are used by Google for processing and sending instant notifications in many popular apps including Twitter, Gmail and Facebook.
It’s worth noting that Google isn’t the first company to run into trouble with SimpleAir. Microsoft, Apple and even Blackberry all have licensing agreements with the company, after all. So what’s next? While the jury ruled in SimpleAir’s favor, they couldn’t come up with a unanimous decision in terms of the amount that Google owned the company. This means a second trial will be scheduled that will deal with the amount owed.
As already mentioned, SimpleAir is hoping to get $125 million in damages, though we wouldn’t be surprised if this amount gets talked down. For Google’s part, the company has already asked for a mistrial on all issues. While $125 million certainly isn’t nearly as massive as the initial amounts ruled against Samsung in the Apple-Samsung patent wars, it’s still a hefty sum and one that Google won’t willingly accept.
The bigger issue here is that SimpleAir appears to be just another patent troll looking to make an easy buck off big companies like Google. The company officially describes itself on their website as a an “inventor-owned technology licensing company with interests and intellectual property in the wireless content delivery, mobile application, and push notification market spaces.” In total, the company holds eight issued U.S. Patents and has several pending patent applications.
What do you think of companies like SimpleAir, legitimate businesses looking to get paid for their ideas or just companies looking to prey off bigger fish by using vaguely worded patents? Should something be done about our current patent system?