In the beginning of the year, Google had a victory against patent troll, Beneficial Innovations. Google had gone the offensive route instead of the defensive and argued that Beneficial was in breach of contract due to its 2011 patent lawsuit against a dozen of major media corporations including Advance Publications and American Media.
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. The Goldberg patent on a “network gaming system” became notorious when he started pursuing license fees from small gaming websites and was one of 10 patents featured in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “Patent Busting Project” for “crimes against the public domain.” The two patents asserted in this case were Nos. 6,712,702, a “continuation” of the notorious network gaming patents, and 7,496,943, on a system for presenting advertising.
Google had paid for a license but Beneficial went on to sue companies who were merely users of Google’s Double ad tech. A Google spokesperson explained that, “Beneficial went back on the terms of its own license agreement, pursuing our customers for simply using our licensed services.”
Back then, Google won a petty sum of $1 in damages but did get a judicial order against Beneficial to stop the patent troll’s pursuit against other Doubleclick customers.
That was then, this is now! The judge reviewing this case has ruled that Google is entitled to some attorneys’ fees from Beneficial. 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. The judge has ordered Beneficial to pay Google about $1.3 million in fees. The amount does not include the costs of expert witnesses as Judge Gilstrap was not of the opinion that the tech tycoon was entitled to it.
Click here for the full judgement of the Beneficial-fees-order by Judge Gilstrap.
When looking at it, the real victory here wasn’t the one million in damages as the sum would be insignificant to a big company like Google. It was beating a patent troll on Google’s home ground, East Texas. This is going to struck some fear in patent trolls that are thinking about overstepping the boundaries.