updated 03:49 pm EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Patent lawsuit over notifications asked to be tossed based on Supreme Court ruling
Google has stepped into the ring for another patent dispute in East Texas, this time involving its Android operating system, Samsung and the Rockstar Consortium. Last November, the consortium filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming that Samsung phones using the Android operating system infringed on seven patents that Rockstar holds. The patents in question include messaging and notification systems found on mobile devices, but Google asked to have the case thrown out.
Gigaom's Jeff John Roberts reported on the denial of Google's dismissal request, which was issued by District Judge Rodney Gilstrap. Google asked the court to throw out the case for several reasons, including the unanimous Supreme Court ruling on Alice Corporation (PDF link). That case involved the situation of "familiar ideas" being used on computers not qualifying for protection under patent law.
Judge Gilstrap disagreed with the argument, stating that the "patent is not directed at an unpatentable 'abstract idea.'" He adds in his comments that the court denied another motion on "identical grounds," and "the court sees no reason to change its mind." Pointing to the Alice Corp v. CLS Bank International case, he didn't see any suggestion that "the extensively limited and concrete processes" in the claim are considered unpatentable.
Google also tried to argue that some of the claims were nothing more than a generic ideas that lack the information for software to be identifiable. Because of this, Google claims that it is unable to decipher what functionalities are being accused of indirect infringement in the claim.
Gilstrap argues that the Rockstar complaint points to specific functionalities, including "message and notification" on mobile devices. He states that the language informs Google of the devices and the functionality being infringed upon. He adds that that another claim for "gallery, email, maps and browser functionalities" make the same identification.
"Nothing about this allegation is unduly vague or inherently implausible," said Gilstrap.
All three of the points Google presented were shot down by the judge, leaving Google to fight the Rockstar Consortium, along with Samsung. Samsung previously attempted to have the complaint dismissed in May, but Gilstrap denied their request as well. Google is also fighting with Rockstar in California.