Google wins $1 jury verdict against patent troll

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Feb 6, 2014

MARSHALL, Texas (Legal Newsline) -- Last month, Google Inc. won a $1 jury verdict against Beneficial Innovations Inc., a Nevada-based patent-holding company that has filed a string of lawsuits over patents related to online gaming and online advertising.

In April 2011, Beneficial sued several companies in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, a popular venue for patent infringement cases because of its set of local rules for such cases and rather fast trial settings.

The companies included Advance Publications Inc., which owns Conde Naste; ALM Media Properties LLC, the owner of various legal newspapers and websites; Amazon.com Inc.; American Media Inc.; Autotrader.com Inc.; Dell Inc.; Demand Media Inc.; Expedia Inc.; Rodale Inc.; Scripps Interactive LLC; Viacom, Inc.; and Village Voice Media Holdings LLC.

Of the defendants, Advance, ALM, American Media, Autotrader.com and Demand were users of Google's Doubleclick Product, a type of advertising technology.

Google previously, in November 2010, reached a settlement with Beneficial -- considered by many to be a "patent troll" -- that included protections for its customers.

In July 2012, Google filed a complaint for intervention in the case, Beneficial Innovations Inc. v. Advance Publications Inc. et al., suing Beneficial for breach of contract.

That case went to a jury. In a Jan. 23 verdict, the jury found in Google's favor.

Specifically, it found that Beneficial breached the 2010 settlement agreement with Google and Google was entitled to recover nominal damages in the amount of $1.

"Beneficial went back on the terms of its own license agreement, suing our customers for simply using our licensed services," said Matt Kallman, a spokesman for Google.

The company said it is pleased with the symbolic, single-dollar victory.

"This is a great outcome that the jury worked hard to get right," Kallman said.

Attorneys for Beneficial could not immediately be reached for comment.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

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