Google escapes $15.1m jury verdict in dispute over audio patents

Judge throws out jury verdict ruling that the plaintiff didn’t provide enough evidence to support claim
August 19, 2018 Mountain View / CA / USA - Google logo on one of the buildings situated in Googleplex, the company's main campus in Silicon Valley

By Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

A judge has rejected a jury verdict that had ordered Google to pay patent holding company Personal Audio LLC $15.1m in damages for infringing two of its patents.

Patent Holding Company Personal Audio had sued Google for infringing patents related to sequencing of audio recordings in a digital library in Google’s Play Music app. 

During a six-day trial in June, the jury had found Google liable for direct and induced infringement of certain claims of the two patents.

On 5 September at the US district court for Delaware, Judge Colm Connelly found that Personal Audio had not “adduced sufficient evidence to support the jury’s direct infringement verdict with respect to the ‘sequencing file’ limitations”. Personal Audio had, however, adduced sufficient evidence to support the jury’s direct infringement verdict with respect to the ‘LocType’ limitations – another claim in dispute. 

The ‘sequencing file’ limitation is present in each of the asserted claims. The judge therefore ruled that Personal Audio had not provided sufficient evidence to support the jury’s direct infringement verdict and, accordingly, found that Google was entitled to “judgment as a matter of law” of no direct infringement, meaning in US law the opposing party had insufficient evidence to support its case.

Discussing the other arguments of induced infringement, wilfulness and damages, he said that because there was no direct infringement, Personal Audio was not entitled to compensatory or enhanced damages. He also said if his judgment is later vacated or reversed, Google would be allowed a new trial.

Personal Audio was represented by Farnham LLP’s Brian E. Farnan, Michael J. Farnan, Rosemary and J. Piergiovanni and Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth’s Steven M. Hanle, Jason de Bretteville, Douglas Q. Hahn, Salil Bali, Lisa Northrup, Ahmad Takouche and Henning Schmidt.

Google was represented by Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell’s Jack B. Blumenfeld, Brian P. Egan and Cameron P. Clark and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s Melissa J. Baily, David A. Perlson, Antonio R. Sistos, Jeff Nardinelli, Patrick Stafford, Owen F. Roberts, Olga Slobodyanyuk and Lance Yang.

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