SimpleAir’s US Patent No. 7,035,914, which covers a system and method used for data communication between network computers, was the subject of a patent infringement case against Google. SimpleAir first claimed that Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Nokia and other tech firms had violated the patent in 2011. All the companies settled with SimpleAir, except Google, which went on to fight the case in court. US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap for the Eastern District of Texas oversaw the case which was recently concluded with a ruling that Google is to pay $85 Million to SimpleAir.
Whether there will be further appeals from Google or not is unknown, but they had already had a separate jury trial in January where they were the five claims of infringement were found to be valid. The case focused specifically on several Google services, including Google Cloud Messaging and Cloud to Device Messaging. These technologies are widely used in Android smart phones and tablets, including for push notifications to apps like Facebook, Gmail and Twitter.
The lead inventor and majority owner of SimpleAir said, “The jury understood that Google profits tremendously from its infringing use of our invention and we believe that is reflected in its verdict. We appreciate the jury’s service and their fairness in considering and validating a large damages claim made by such a small company against a company that is so widely known.”
Google has not yet released a statement on the case, citing the fact that they don’t comment on ongoing legal proceedings, which may indicate that further appeals will be coming.
SmartAir originally sought to get $146 million in damages. Google offered to settle for $6 million for both the past and future use of the intellectual property. The patent expires in 2017. This court decision is only applicable to past violations of the patent, and leaves Google open to further penalties for future use of these technologies.