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Google to cough up $20m after Chrome rips off anti-malware patents

Actual residents of Texas Eastern District prevail

Google has been ordered to pay $20m damages after its Chrome browser sandbox technology was found to have infringed four anti-malware patents.

The verdict [PDF] was handed down on Friday after a jury trial in Marshall, Texas.

The patents – including this one – were awarded to former Lucent engineer Allen Rozman, who died aged 52 in 2012, and Alfonso J. Cioffi, both of Texas*, who filed suit [PDF] against Google in 2013.

In December 2014, however, a US District judge, Judge Gilstrap, dismissed the case, after the plaintiffs acknowledged that under the judge’s interpretation of the words “web browser process”, an infringement claim wouldn’t hold up.

Cioffi and the Rozman family appealed, and a Federal Court found Gilstrap had erred, both in his interpretation of “web browser process” and over another interpretation.

“We see nothing that indicates that Cioffi intended its invention to do anything other than protect ‘critical files’ as that concept is widely understood by those of skill in the art,” the Federal Circuit court wrote.

Google then appealed to the US Supreme Court to hear the case, but the Supes declined. Ultimately the patent could yield $60m for the surviving family of the inventor. Google has said it maintains its position that the patents are invalid. ®

*The case Cioffi et al. v. Google Inc., case number 2:13-cv-00103, took place in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

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