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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yahoo! wins verdict in Bedrock patent trial | ITworld

Yahoo! wins verdict in Bedrock patent trial

Jury finds no infringement on the part of Yahoo!

By Brian Proffitt  2 comments

You remember that lawsuit Google recently lost against patent portfolio company Bedrock Technologies, LLC in the United States District Court Eastern District of Texas?

You know the one. That's when Bedrock, which holds patents over processes that are allegedly infringed by Linux, decided to sue two local Texas users of Linux (Softlayer Technologies, Inc. and CitiWare Technology Solutions, LLC) as well as some decidedly non-local users: Google Inc., Yahoo! Inc., MySpace Inc., Inc., PayPal Inc.,, Inc., AOL Inc., and CME Group Inc.

It's the one where Bedrock actually won a jury verdict against the first defendant up in the trial, Google, and was awarded damages of $5 million. This was a paltry amount compared to the original $183 million Bedrock was originally seeking, but this did not stop a lot of people from gleefully predicting the end for Linux was nigh.

I think the doom and gloomers will be a bit tempered this week.

On Tuesday, a jury in the second part of the case, this time against Yahoo!, ruled "none of [Bedrock's] asserted claims were infringed."

Thomson Reuters has a great piece detailing the why Yahoo! won a case that Google lost last month:

"First off, Bedrock had a stronger case against Google. Cawley put on evidence that Google used Bedrock's Linux code on its servers (although Google got rid of the code before trial). Yahoo, on the other hand, used a different form of Linux, and its lead trial lawyer, Yar Chaikovsky and Fay Morisseau of McDermott Will, were able to argue that Yahoo never executed the Bedrock code."

"Yahoo!, the story adds, "also benefited mightily from going to trial second."

And that's certainly true. By watching the Google trial, Yahoo!'s defense lawyers were able to tailor their defense more strategically against a plaintiff that could not change its witness testimony.

Unfortunately, while Bedrock lost this particular round, it appears they may have gotten their greedy hands on what they were probably really after: licensing agreements.



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