Google accused of infringing a patent on an Android feature


That a giant in the technology sector like Google ends up before a judge is certainly not new and that this happens for issues related to patents is so common that it can be almost banal, this time the accusation comes from Purdue Research Foundation from the Purdue University.

Patented technology and the accusation against Google

Before the Texas federal court, Google LLC comes accused of infringing a patent published by the Purdue Research Foundation – a this link you can find the full text – which describes a system for detecting energy absorption errors called “power bugs“Or, to use Big G’s terminology,”wake lock“(Imprecise app requests to prevent suspension).

In summary, according to the Purdue Research Foundation, part of the Android software to eliminate such programming errors in smartphones would illegally copy parts of its previous (patented) invention. Specifically, such violations could be found in “Lint“, A well-known code scanning tool included in the integrated development environment of Android Studio (just a few days ago we talked to you about all the news of the new Bumblebee version).

Based on these allegations, the foundation asked the US District Court for the Western District of Texas to order Google to pay the royalty and an unspecified sum of money for damages deriving from the violation.

The position of the foundation and Google’s response

According to the indictment, two professors and two students from the university based in West Lafayette (Indiana) are said to be the inventors of the technology described. The story requires us to go back several years, the foundation in fact continues by noting how, following the publication of an article on the subject by a Google engineer in an Android forum in June 2012, another engineer from the house of Mountain View would have found and incorporated the code in question into the Android software.

A wake lock detection script for Lint was submitted for approval in the Android Open Source Project gerrit in July and merged into the repository base in December. The patent application of the Purdue Research Foundation, on the other hand, was submitted towards the end of June 2013.

The patent in question was recognized at Purdue in 2019 and the university would have notified to Google of the violation already last August, but Big G would have ignored everything by continuing to use the patented code.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Purdue reports that the research foundation has been trying to organize a meeting with Google for weeks, but the Californian giant would not accept “reasonable conditions“For a meeting. There violation of Google it would still be well wider and it would also touch other Purdue patents, so much so that the university spokesman speaks of a correction to the charge in the event that Big G continues to refuse the negotiation of a license agreement.

There Google response it arrived on Wednesday and was entrusted to the words of spokesman José Castañeda, according to whom Big G would develop its products in a completely independent way, would be taking note of the allegations and would be preparing to defend itself forcefully.

It remains to be understood: first of all, what kind of damage the foundation has actually suffered and what compensation it may be entitled to, given that Lint is a free tool available to Android developers; second, how Google will articulate its defense.

Finally, a technical note: the case is “Purdue Research Foundation v. Google LLC, US District Court for the Western District of Texas, No. 6: 22-cv-00119“. For Purdue: Michael Shore and Alfonso Chan of Shore Chan, Mark Siegmund of Steckler Wayne Cochran Cherry. For Google: n / a. The more curious can read the full text of the accusation a this link.

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