Google is being sued by Northeastern University and a start-up run by an associate professor over allegations Google breached a patent relating to the way Google pulls data from its databases.
The suit, lodged in the patent friendly US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleges that Google misappropriated a 1997 patent that relates to a method of breaking database queries into multiple portions and having each part processed by a different computer. This method allows for faster results on Google, according to Boston.com.
Whilst the validity of the claim will ultimately be decided in court, the story behind the claim is classic patent trolling. Jarg Corp, the startup who along with Northeastern is suing in this case, was approached by a Boston Law Firm 2 1/2 years ago (who they refuse to name) suggesting that Google may have breached their patents. Rather than spend money and take action then (which the law firm who approached them wanted), Jarg Corp waited until they could find a lawyer who would take the case on a contingency basis, ie: they only get paid if the case is successful. They are so confident in their case they aren’t willing to spend money on it…which sort of draws its own conclusions.
Google’s only response so far is to note that they are aware of the case, and that they believe it to be “without merit.”