updated 02:20 am EDT, Tue August 7, 2012
Google, Target, others still face suit on search engine technology
Vringo, best known for its video ringtones, has reached a partial settlement with AOL related to online search and advertising. First filed in 2011, the lawsuit claims that Google, AOL, and InterActiveCorp (IAC) violated two acquired patents related to web searches, and best advertising placement based on search keywords. Neither AOL nor Vringo had any comment on the settlement, and a specific dollar figure was not released.
The patents in question were developed by former Lycos Chief Technology Officers Andrew Lang and Donald Kosak in the late '90s, and purchased by non-practicing entity I/P Engine, also known as Innovate/Protect. The company merged with Vringo in late July.
Last July, Innovate/Protect sued Google, and partners AOL, Gannett, IAC, and Target, contending that Google uses the patent to serve advertisements to users, delivering over $38 billion a year to Google. Even post-settlement, AOL remains a defendant, because it contracts some advertising out to Google.
Since the patent acquisition, the six-year old company's stock has increased in value from less than $1 per share in April to $3.58 after the announcement of the AOL settlement today. Vringo has more than 400,000 monthly subscribers of its various services, and the Vringo application suite is preloaded on ZTE phones.