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Patent battle between Intellectual Ventures and Google ends on a mistrial

After a day of deliberations, the jury has failed to come to a conclusive verdict on a case pitting Google Inc. against Intellectual Ventures, forcing the judge to announce a mistrial on the patent case allegations

It has been two weeks since the patent lawsuit begun with the jury having a day to deliberate on the issue, but failed to come to conclusive agreement, thus leaving U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson with no choice other than hand the mistrial verdict.

As of late, Intellectual Ventures, a patent holder co-founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, has become a lightning rod of controversy in the technology industry. The company has built up a massive trove of patents and has taken aim at a slew of firms that it claims violate its technologies.

In a 2011 lawsuit 2011, Intellectual Ventures claimed Motorola had infringed several of its patents. The trial concerned three patents dealing with Motorola hardware and Android services, including Google Play.

Intellectual Ventures Chief Litigation Counsel Melissa Pinocchio said in a statement, “Mistrials are an occasional fact of life, and it is disappointing (for us, and probably also for Motorola) that the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. But we are looking ahead to the retrial on these patents and also to our two other upcoming trials with Motorola Mobility Inc. later this year.”

The verdict seemed to be a win for Motorola, which is a subsidiary of Google. The tech giant has always maintained that it is trying to curb software patents to make it easier for the challenging of lawsuits. This has not gone well with Intellectual Ventures, which maintains that Congress should not weaken patent owners’ rights through their irrational actions.

Additionally, Google announced its plans to unload Motorola to Lenovo with the intention of still having a huge say on the majority of the company’s patents. It is very difficult to determine how Motorola patent liabilities would affect the sale in the coming days, according to a Google spokesperson. There has been an ongoing battle of supremacy in the industry mainly due to issues related to patent ownership.

Intellectual Ventures and other patent buyers have been accused by the big players who own majority of the patents of burdening innovation by purchasing the patents for sole the purpose of pursuing lawsuits instead of encouraging innovation. Successful patent lawsuits can fetch huge chunks of money that these companies have been chasing.

According to Intellectual Ventures, a dispute over two other patents in the Motorola litigation is expected to go to trial in Delaware in April.


For more on patent law, check out these articles:

Samsung and Cisco enter IP cross-licensing agreement

Google, Cisco forge patent cross-licensing deal

IP: Do the new patent office trials really make patent litigation cheaper?

Is patent trolling on the rise?

Contributing Author

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Amanda Ciccatelli

Amanda G. Ciccatelli is a Freelance Journalist for InsideCounsel, where she covers intellectual property, legal technology, patent litigation, cybersecurity, innovation, and more. She earned a B.A....

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