Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) have each had their share of patent lawsuits thrown at them over the years, in some cases exploiting the flaws and foibles of patent law in the U.S. the concept of “patent troll” was all but invented in the United States. (And we have chronicles some of these cases.) But while some or many of these “troll” companies don’t have a legal leg to stand on much of the time, they do seem to achieve some level of success because tech companies are willing to hire lawyers in all reaches of the country to vigorously defend patent rights, spending millions of dollars (if not billions) for those patents – money which could otherwise be used for research and development of tech devices or marketing of those devices to consumers to build more market share.
This week, however, it seems that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) may have finally put one such “patent troll” to rest, with a case that seems like it should have gone to trial in the first place, much less had an appeal filed. But our friends at Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported that a federal appeals court tossed out a patent case filed against Google and Amazon.com, a suit which claimed tht the two companies infringed on patents that covered the very fundamental building blocks of the Internet as we know it.
Michael Doyle, former University of California researcher and founder of Eolas Technologies, claimed to have held patents for a variety of functions, including those regarding music clips, search features, maps and even applications that are embedded.
After he had lost an initial jury trial in Texas last year, his appeal fell on deaf ears, as the appeals court upheld the original ruling, siding with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and invalidated the patent claims, without even submitting a formal opinion. That could be a legal term for laughing in one’s face for even wasting time with this case. It was reported that the patent claim was so flimsy, in fact, that the “father of the World Wide Web” British techie Tim Berners-Lee testified against Doyle and in favor of the tech giants in the trial.
Now, we are not ones to necessarily label any company as a “troll” without knowing all the facts in a case, but this Eolas Technologies might be one of those companies that might define the term “troll.”