(February 14, 2017 – Marshall, Texas) – A jury has found Google liable for $20M in damages for infringing all claims of three anti-malware patents in their Chrome web browser.
In Alfonso Cioffi et al v. Google, Inc., 2:13-cv-0103-JRG-RSP, engineers Allen Rozman and Alfonso Cioffi, both Texans, created the technology to keep internet users safe and were deemed the inventors of such by the federal Patent and Trademark Office. When Google began using it, they were forced to sue to maintain their rights and life’s work.
The case was at first dismissed, with the judge arguing in 2013 that the phrase “web browser process” was too indefinite to hold Google’s act as infringing. The Federal Court of Appeals disagreed in 2014, saying “We see nothing that indicates that Cioffi intended its invention to do anything other than protect ‘critical files’ as that concept is widely understood by those of skill in the art.” Google then tried to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, who rejected the hearing. In the United States, that’s the end of the line. The case could now be heard in full back at the District level, where a jury found in favor of the Plaintiffs.
Unfortunately Mr. Rozman died in this process. But that does not dissolve his patents anymore than his other private property—the patents pass to his family, who then became plaintiffs.
Both plaintiffs were from Richardson, Texas, which is next to Plano, on the north side of Dallas. Media coverage often tries to portray East Texas as small towns, conveniently passing over the North Dallas area, a major home to Samsung Mobile, MetroPCS, Raytheon, Fujitsu USA, Cisco, AT&T, United Healthcare, and countless others. In all, the Eastern District is home to about 4 million people.
In Google v. Cioffi, the plaintiffs were awarded an ongoing royalty rate currently equivalent to $20M rather than a lump sum. This means future payments to the owners of those technologies will also be coming.
Alfonso Cioffi and the Rozman family were represented by Charles Ainsworth, Robert Christopher Bunt, and Robert M Parker of Parker Bunt & Ainsworth; Christopher L. Larson, Eric W Benisek, Jeffrey T Lindgren, Richard C Vasquez, Robert S McArthur, Stephen C Steinberg of Vasquez Benisek & Lindgren, LLP; and William Ellsworth Davis III of The Davis Firm, PC.
Google was represented by Darin W Snyder, David S Almeling, Brian M Berliner, John X Zhu, Luann Loraine Simmons, Mark Liang, and Mishima Alam of O’Melveny & Myers; Stephanie Powers Skaff, Andrew Phuc Nguyen, Cathleen G Garrigan, Daniel C Callaway, Eugene Y Mar, James L Day, Marc Tarlock, and Winston Liaw of Farella Braun & Martel LLP; Allen Franklin Gardner of Gillam & Smith LLP; Daryl Joseffer, and Joshua N Mitchell of King & Spalding; and Michael E Jones and Patrick Colbert Clutter IV of Potter Minton.