Google has won an appeal against a $20 million infringement verdict, in a case that saw Alfonso Cioffi and Allen Rozman’s daughters sue Google in East Texas federal court in 2013. The lawsuit alleged that anti-malware functions in Google’s Chrome web browser infringed their patents for technology that prevents malware from accessing critical files on a computer. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the patents were invalid because they contained inventions that were not included in an earlier version of the patent. As a result, the $20 million verdict and ongoing royalties have been cancelled.
The Invalidity of the Patents
The unanimous three-judge panel of the appeals court concluded that the three patents were reissued from an earlier anti-malware patent, and federal law required the new patents to cover the same invention as the first. However, the new patents outlined technology specific to web browsers that the first patent did not mention. Therefore, the court found that the patents were invalid.
Google spokesperson José Castañeda expressed the company’s appreciation for the court’s decision. The company has always maintained that the allegations were without merit and that its Chrome web browser did not infringe on any valid patents. The ruling by the Federal Circuit has confirmed Google’s position on this issue.
The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is a significant victory for Google. The cancellation of the $20 million verdict and ongoing royalties will save the company millions of dollars. Moreover, it is a clear message that patent owners must ensure that their patents are valid and do not contain any inventions that were not included in an earlier version of the patent. For other technology companies facing patent infringement lawsuits, this case serves as a reminder that they too can challenge the validity of patents and, if successful, avoid significant financial losses.