Today Google made oral arguments in the U.S. appeals court overturn the $30.5 million, plus royalties, verdict awarded to patent-holding company Vringo Inc. in 2012.
Vringo won the case (I/P Engine Inc. v. AOL Inc., 14-1233) in which it claimed the filtering technology used in Google’s AdWords system to determine where ads appear in the search results is covered under two patents it came to acquire from Lycos, the search engine that once competed with Yahoo in popularity.
According to BloombergBusinessweek, Google attorney David Perlson of Quinn Emanuel in San Francisco told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, “There’s been a fundamental failure of evidence.”
Google has denied infringing the patents and called out Vringo for patent trolling. For its part, Vringo says the damages should extend back to 2005, though the judge set the royalty period to after the suit filing in 2011. Vringo sued Google and its customers AOL, Gannett, IAC and Target in September 2011, however Google agreed to cover costs incurred by the other companies.
Google also argued made changes to AdWords in 2013 that worked around the patents and argued it should not be held to pay royalties after that point. In January, a judge disagreed, ruling the changes to the AdWords system were essentially immaterial in regards to the patents and that Google was to continue to pay damages.
The case is I/P Engine Inc. v. AOL Inc., 13-1307, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).