Protect the assets in your business. Yahoo Inc. was ordered to pay $15 million for infringing a patented search function that the company used for its search engine. The patent holder is the company Droplets Inc, and the $15 million payment was a reduction of the damages from the original amount of $260 million.
The original patent application shows that Droplet Inc filed for its patent on the now-ubiquitous search engine suggestion feature of the search bar of an internet browser, which was designed to boost efficiency for search engine users. Droplets’ invention spread through the internet before the application was approved. Many big companies appropriated the technology, these companies included Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and YouTube.
Starting in 2013, Yahoo agreed to pay licensing fees in exchange for Droplets’ dismissal of the suit against them. Yahoo said it would
not enter into such an agreement, arguing that its company was covered under a sublicense of its then-parent company, Verizon.
In 2019, William A. Hector, a venerable LLP partner representing Yahoo wrote, “when Yahoo surrendered its entire operating business to Verizon, including all past, present, and future liabilities for patent infringement, the defendant, garnered a sublicense requiring dismissal of this action.”
However, in 2020, attorney Courtland Reichman, representing Droplets, rebutted this claim. “Yahoo’s motion for summary judgment, Droplets argued that only Verizon entities and not Yahoo purportedly had a license to droplets patent, and Yahoo remained liable for its patent infringement.”
Intellectual property, as you can see in this case, is one of the most important assets in a business. And it can represent millions of dollars for your company. Make sure you protect your intellectual property and patent rights. If you need help, you can contact Focus Law at (714) 415-2007 or reach us by clicking here.