Graphon sues Google for patent infringement
US software company Graphon has alleged that search engine operator Google has infringed four of its patents relating to dynamic web applications. Graphon announced on Monday in Santa Cruz, the state capital of California, that it had filed a lawsuit against Google in the Eastern District Court of Texas, a court that has become quite popular with patent owners. The complaint alleges infringement of patents by Google services Base, AdWords, Blogger, Sites and YouTube. Graphon is seeking a prohibitory injunction along with unspecified damages.
The four patents that are the subject of the lawsuit (numbers 6,324,538, 6,850,940, 7,028,034 and 7,269,591) are relatively broad in scope and describe processes for database-based and customizable web applications. Graphon obtained the patents in 2005 when it acquired the software developer Network Engineering Software. The same patents are also the subject of a lawsuit filed against Classified Ventures, IAC/InterActiveCorp, Match.com, Yahoo, eHarmony.com and CareerBuilder. In December 2007, Graphon reached an agreement with AutoTrader which involved the payment of an undisclosed sum. The company also owns patents protecting its firewall technologies that are the subject of a lawsuit currently pending against Juniper Networks.
Graphon seems to have turned its attention to patent litigation as a result of its depressed core business. According to its 2007 annual report, the agreement with AutoTrader earned the company $6.25 million. Graphon reported a net profit of $193,500 for 2007. In the first six months of the current financial year, the company posted an operating loss of $1.4 million on revenues of $2.7 million. During the same period the previous year, Graphon posted a loss of $2 million on revenues of $2.4 million.