Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was under some new legal fire until recently. The company has been developing and upgrading its Google+ social network over the last couple of years, and it has been gaining some market share while Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) loses its “cool” factor. (Facebook is trying to fix that, as we noted earlier.) And while Google+ has gained in popularity, its video-chat service, which allows for multiple users to engage in what is called a “Hangout,” has apparently been the focus of a lawsuit by a New York-based startup.
However, there is new word out Monday that suggests that the startup, called Be In, has apparently watered down its infringement claim to the point that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is now aggressively pushing for a dismissal of the lawsuit. Be In was developing a multi-user video feature called CamUp as far back as 2011, when Be In showed he technology to a Google executive in a meeting in May of that year, seeking possible collaboration to develop the technology further. The proposed collaboration was supposed to involve a “Watch With Your Friends” feature on YouTube. The Google exec never disclosed to Be In staffers that Google was working on its own similar technology, which became the “Hangout” feature on Google+.
Be In claimed in its initial complaint, filed last summer, that shortly after the meeting with the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive, the CamUp website saw a marked increase in traffic to the site, and a concentration of that traffic came from the area around the Mountain View, Calif., headquarters of Google. Be In also claimed that the average visit of those Moutnain View-area visitors was as much as 10 times longer than the average visitor to the site. Be In claimed that these could have been Google employees looking to mine information about the CamUp technology.
However, Be In has been experiencing some tumult in its legal representation, as the firm is on its third attorney firm since filing the lawsuit last summer. And this latest firm filed a second amended complaint against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), which has apparently dropped most of the initial claims against Google in the first place that seemed to indicate possible infringement.