Google facing up to $125 million in damages after losing Android push notification lawsuit

January 22, 2014

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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?

Comments

  • Nathan Borup

    The current patent system is broken. All it does is stifle innovation and invention. Take this SimpleAir company. They have the “patent” but did they ever produce a product? no, did they ever introduce the idea to a manufacturer? no. They just came up with the idea, submitted a patent and sat on it… absolutely worthless when it comes to innovation

    • Commentator Prime

      The purpose of a patent is not innovation though. If you think up a unique idea before anyone else in the world, you should still be able to lay claim to it. If someone hears about your idea and makes money off of it, they should be responsible enough to give your the appropriate credit and monetary cut.

      • Nathan Borup

        How a patent should work is you can only patent it if you have a working prototype or a working service for the idea that you have created. Otherwise the whole patent system is stifling the ability to innovate

        • Commentator Prime

          Innovation may never happen for an idea or a service if there was never the person to envision the idea in the first place. Also, I don’t see innovation being stifled, pay license fees and continue innovation. If you don’t have the money to innovate, then YOUR innovation is being stifled, not the idea itself.

          • Terminatah Xray

            Paying for someone elses technology is not innovation. Ask Microsoft and Apple, they know this all too well.

        • Terminatah Xray

          Nathon, I would tweak your excellent Idea by saying that ‘one has to have evidence of a protoype design and development path’. Requiring someone to have a prototype already working may be too late as a coworker or confidant learns of it and preempts them to the patent office.

      • Anders CT

        You should absolutely not be able to claim a monopoly on an idea.

        Anyone can get the idea of a flying car. Making real working flying cars and selling them is the hard part. And the people who did the hard part owes nothing to the lazy bums who just ran with their lawyers to the patent office.

        • Commentator Prime

          I’m not talking about popular stuff, I specified a UNIQUE idea. Some people would NEVER get the opportunity to try to do the ‘hard stuff’ if the idea never came to them thanks to SOMEONE ELSE.

          • Dimitar Gospodinov

            oh you mean like rectangular phone should be patented? veeery unique…or bouncing animation when you reach the last homescreen….@nathanborup:disqus is right…either make a product or sell the idea so someone actually makes a product…what’s the point of sitting on it? Except when you want to troll….Even if the idea is unique at the moment do you think it is possible for somebody else is going to come up with it in the future

      • Terminatah Xray

        Your definition is the essence of patent farming/troling. a person owning the “idea” must actually show they are trying to produce a product. Anyone can come up with an idea submit a patent on an already existing idea. What you are condoning stifles competition, innovation, and drives up the cost of products.

      • Data Grab

        We got a lawyer here. Nathan has a point though. A great example: This is what steve woz doesn’t like. Jobs likes to keep the innovation and ideas unspread whereas Woz wants otherwise.

    • Rahl

      Great, we really live in the Age of Patent Infringement Lawsuit.

      I can’t even imagine how we will live a century from now. Just wait till someone patent a “method for human giving birth”, and everyone giving birth will face a patent lawsuit

  • RanRu

    “System and method for transmission of data.”

    Um… Are you kidding me?

    • Mayoo

      F*ck … I should stop using USB thumb drives.

    • KingofPing

      That describes stone tablets….I am betting the actual filing is a bit more detailed.

      Still stifling and counter-productive, but probably not quite as big of a joke as the summary might suggest.

  • Tochi Obudulu

    Parasites

    • http://ionintel.blogspot.com/ Aerosheet

      Which company are you referring to?

      • Tuấn Ankh

        That’s a very good question.

      • Tochi Obudulu

        Lol, I don’t even know

        • http://ionintel.blogspot.com/ Aerosheet

          SimpleAir should be the parasite if they’re going to sue a company for using a method of transmitting data. SimpleAir isn’t even USING the method…

          • Tochi Obudulu

            Exactly. But the money that Google would have to pay for licensing this “technology” is just a drop in the ocean to them. It would probably have been cheaper to pay their ridiculous license fee than going on with the court case and paying for damages. Google was just trying to send a message to other patent trolls that they won’t back down easily.

          • http://ionintel.blogspot.com/ Aerosheet

            I don’t get why patent trolls exist…

          • Tochi Obudulu

            Because the judicial system allow them to

          • http://ionintel.blogspot.com/ Aerosheet

            They really need to change the system.

  • Brendon Brown

    Man this is pocketchange :P but no need for patent troll garage businesses ! :)

  • David Loman

    Simple. If you are going to fill a patent, you should be able to apply it on something, otherwise the patent is not granted. Can you imagine the amount of patents Apple has that has never ever used? Just waiting for someone to come with the idea and get sued for millions of dollars. No offense, but the US justice system in this type of situations makes me vomit

    • On a Clear Day

      But David, think of all the ambulance chasing, patent trolling lawyers and their clients who would be wanting for anyone to sue if they couldn’t launch spurious lawsuits. After all, we graduate 50,000 lawyers a year in this country – more than any other in the world. What else are they – and all the unnecessary lawyers who preceded them going to do if they can’t sue, sue, sue baby?

      Talk about a brain drain; talk about a drag on the economy; talk about people wasting their lives and screwing up other peoples’ doing nothing that is truly useful with their lives – except deliberately causing havoc and mayhem legally and financially wherever they decide to squat.

      Then you are talking about the America legal system.

      • David Loman

        Hahahaha I love your sarcasm! I’d down at Mexico City and, well… our justice system sucks too. But at least people don’t attempt to sue others seeking to make some money out of it. You could, bout you would take years on courts and lots of money spent. If you have a problem with someone down here, you deal with it yourself. There was a time where I was given a translation for an American company, the people who gave me the translation worked for this American company and eventually they canceled the deal and said I would no longer do the translation. Since it was a big translation that would make me big bucks, I contacted the company directly and told them that I currently had in my power a book of them and offered them to translate. What was their answer? Next day I was called by the company here in Mexico because the guys at the offices in America wanted to sue me for violating author rights! Man, I thought I was absolutely screwed. Fortunately we had a conference call where I apologized over and over and said what a dickhead I was and so on and they didn’t proceed with any legal action. Man… that’s one of the reasons why I never looked for any job in the US although I have been offered many jobs up there. But well… that justice system of yours is really a pitty. =(

  • mustbepbs

    “SimpleAir originally brought Google to court after claiming that Google Butt Messaging (GCM) and Android Butt to Device Messaging (C2DM) services both violated the patent.”

    I don’t think this is ever gonna get old.

  • MasterMuffin

    “as a an” :) This patent trolling is actually a great idea. You can just sit in front of your desk and the money keeps pouring in as long as the other companies are doing well. If you don’t care about being a douche, go for it! :D

  • Mayoo

    I should patent air itself. I could make one hundred billion dollars!

    And, of course, buy sharks with frickin’ lasers on their heads.

    • theycallmeWat?

      haha nice! But SimpleAir has probably patented an air-like substance, which happens to covers air as well. What more would you expect from a lazy-a$$ patent trolling company like them.

    • Terminatah Xray

      Sorry I beat you to it.

      EXcerpt from patent: “….a naturally occurring element containing more than 30% oxygen, able to be inhaled or consumed via various glands and organs, for the organic sustainability of life.

  • http://www.thinkingbrian.com/ ThinkingBrian

    I don’t understand the patent system at all. Normally when a person or company comes up with a idea (like Duck Commander came up with a duck call decades ago) and patents it, then normally its because that person or company is building the product and wants to protect that product. Its there’s, they invented it. But in many case now, a person or company is coming up with the idea, patenting it and doing nothing with it. No product, no service, nothing and if someone else wants to build that, they get screwed or sued.

    • theycallmeWat?

      Couldn’t agree more!

    • On a Clear Day

      There are not now – nor ever been actually – a shortage of people in this world willing to happily sell their souls and personal integrity every which way one can to the devil of their own selfishness and self-aggrandizement. Such as they view anything or anyone that is beautiful; anything that is productive and creative as something to attach themselves to parasitically and draw sustenance from its lifeblood; are never happy until that which is beautiful, creative and productive is reduced to their own level of craven depravity, lest they be reminded and forced by proximity or comparison to realize just how ugly they are and always will be.

  • Commentator Prime

    So many people claiming patent trolls just sit in their desk doing nothing and making money, but the reality is that no one this to be true. I doubt these wishful fantasties come true for more than a handful of people, all the rest are doing work.

  • On a Clear Day

    Parasites on the body creative.

  • Jayfeather787

    Google, buy this stupid company just so you can so you can go up to the previous CEO and say “How do you like me now, bitch? I own your company.”

    • tocsin

      Probably quite a lot cos the Google buyout would’ve made him rich…

      • Jayfeather787

        Yeah I guess so, but google still owns his company. I guess he will be happy because he would have a ton of money, but he no longer has the title of CEO. It was just a joke though. No offense to anyone.

  • Lisandro O Oocks

    You do what you can. If you can’t sell millions of phones, then you sell millions of licensees. If ppl don’t wanna buy them, then you sue them. I would hate to bash a company that even a jury agrees they’re entitled to sue, and that seems to be winning. I think this is a quite a bit different than stupid Apple’s look and feel patents, on basis of round corners and symmetrical layout of icons.

  • MY COOL LEDESMA

    UNWANTED MESS COMPANY GREED AND GREEDY LAWYERS WILL TAKE TIME AWAY FROM COURT SYSTEMS AND OTHER PROCEEDINGS OF MORE IMPORTANCE. LAWS ARE TO PROTECT PEOPLE. WHAT FOOL COURT SYSTEM ALLOWS THIS YO HAPPEN TO EVERYONE. LAWMAKERS LAWYERS AND COURTS ARE A RACKET NOW. THE LAWYERS GET PAID TO REPRESENT AND FIND LOOPHOLES IN LAWS FOR SHIT LIKE THIS TO FALL SCOTT FREE INTO WHEN LOOPHOLES IN LAWS SHOULDN’T BE THERE FOR GREEDY TRASH. WHY S NOTHING BEING DONE TO CHANGE THIS BY COURTS AND LAWMAKERS? NO PRECEDENCE IS BEING SET BY JUDGES TO CHANGE HOW THESE ISSUES ARE HANDLED? THIS SOUNDS LIKE A RACKET CORRUPT INCOMPETENT WAY OF LIFE FOR THESE PEOPLE WHO SEEK PAYMENT AND THE GREEDY LAWYERS WILL HAVE THEIR HANDS OUT. THIS IS MORALLY AND ETHICALLY WRONG AS WELL AS MORALLY UNACCEPTABLE BY MY STANDARDS AND HEART FELT BELIEFS.