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16 May 2011, 12:47

Yahoo wins Linux patent trial that Google lost

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Justice icon Google's defeat in court by Bedrock Computer Technologies over patent 5,893,120 laid the foundations for a fellow defendant, Yahoo, to win when it came to court. The patent concerns "Methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data", filed in 1997 and granted in 1999.

Bedrock was seeking $183 million from Google, but was awarded only $5 million when it won the case. In Yahoo's case, Bedrock were seeking $32 million, but when the case came to a close on 9 May, the jury found that none of the asserted claims were infringed. Yahoo is believed to have benefited from going second to a jury trial as its lawyers got a preview of Bedrock's case and how it handled expert witnesses. According to reports, Yahoo showed that it used a "different form of Linux" and therefore never executed the code Bedrock was referring to.

The result of the case, combined with the news that Yahoo's four co-defendants settled with Bedrock in the weekend before the Yahoo went to court, means that the Bedrock patent still stands and appears to be legally potent. Two of the co-defendants, Amazon and Softlayer, are believed to have signed licensing deals for the patent in question. Red Hat's separate attempt to have the patent declared invalid is still ongoing.


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