Google has been hit by a patent troll. A company that's gone after Apple, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung — among other tech companies — has proven in court that Android's push notification services infringe on one of its patents, and it's now seeking damages of $125 million or more. The infringed patent covers certain aspects of messaging services, and it's in fact the same patent that Apple agreed to a settlement over in 2012. The plaintiff, SimpleAir, now boasts on its website that its patent portfolio is licensed to Apple.
Apple settled with SimpleAir over the same patent
The case comes out of the Eastern District of Texas, a jurisdiction that's been notoriously friendly to patent trolls. Though it's often simpler and cheaper for companies to settle cases like this, Google may have been hoping to take a stand here if it truly believed that it didn't infringe on the patent from SimpleAir, a company that licenses a small number of patents but doesn't actually make its own products.
SimpleAir's lawsuit is representative of the type of patent issues that some major tech companies — Google included — have complained about and would like to see reformed. The House of Representatives actually passed legislation late last year that would help to combat patent trolls, but it'll need to see companion legislation in the Senate before moving forward.
Google now faces a second trial against SimpleAir to determine damages, with a new jury being called in for the coming case. Though the money itself may not be a huge concern to Google, it may end up as the next big name noted as a licensee on SimpleAir's website.