Feds Grant Challenger Appeal In Google Toolbar Patent Case
In the previous ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin rejected HyperPhrase's claims that both AdSense and the AutoLink feature of Google's Web browser toolbar infringed on four of the tech firm's patents.
The patents were specifically related to the way that an application creates links between text fragments and assorted documents, and the way that information is then presented to viewers. As part of Google Toolbar, AutoLink provides users with more than just standard links when they search for info--the feature recognizes data like addresses or International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) and provides links to online maps or books on Amazon.com.
The district court issued a summary judgment in Google's favor for the entire suit, and the court of appeals upheld the ruling as it pertained to AdSense. But the Feds instructed the lower court to reexamine part of HyperPhrase's claim that the AutoLink feature infringed on two of its patents, citing the state's "inappropriate interpretation" of terms used in the tech firm's patent filings.
So while AdSense is in the clear, Google Toolbar and its use of AutoLink will have to stand up to HyperPhrase's claims in the state court under a different kind of scrutiny (as suggested by the Feds).
In a statement, Google lawyer Michael Kwun said that the company was pleased that the Federal court upheld the AdSense ruling in their favor, but added: "We continue to believe the remaining claims in the lawsuit are without merit, and will vigorously defend against those claims."