November 06, 2008 |
It looks like Google is facing yet another patent lawsuit – this time involving a huge amount of money, the technology that is the key to Google’s money-making machine and a team of Russian developers. The Russian company “Era Vodoleya” (translated into English as “The Age of Aquarius”) claims that they patented the technology involved in contextual advertising a year before Google began using this technology.
The CEO of the Russian company told to the Russian CNews branch (in Russian) that the technology of displaying ads related to content of a web page was invented by his company back in 1998. The technology was made public in a series of patents a year later, in 1998, and it took Google another year to implement the technology and start earning money off it. Some part of the enormous revenues generated with the technology the Russian developers want to get back.
The irony is that the guys from the development company do not intend to sue Russian search engines using the same technology Google does: from the very beginning they have decided to choose the most lucrative target of all – which is obviously Google. The reason stated is that the internal 5-year-long investigation made the guys believe that Google used their original patented technologies to implement their contextual ads while the search engines that introduced contextual ads later simply copied the idea from Google but worked on technologies of their own.
The official amount of damages claimed has not been announced yet and will need to be determined by experts prior to filing the lawsuit but for now it is supposed to be in the range of $3 billion – 15% of Google’s profit.
But unfortunately for the Russian company the entire situation looks more like they simply try to blackmail Google into some kind of a peaceful agreement not to go to court. While the Russian company confirms their plans to sue Google, they also mention that they will try to settle the problem in a conversation with Google that they are still trying to build. But for now Google is reportedly ignoring such attempts for conversation so the “Era Vodoleya” company will continue trying until spring and will go to court after that. At the same time the representative of the Google office in Russia said they were not aware of such attempts – though it is absolutely possible that they have been trying to reach the main headquarters of the internet giant in Mountain View.
It could also very well be an attempt to draw attention to the attempts of the Russian company in the search engines industry. The thing is that the team is planning to build an “asymmetrical” search engine based on principles very much different than what we have grown accustomed to using in Google. This search engine will implement the new search principles along with the technologies the company has already patented.
And while I feel somehow disappointed that they will hardly be able to prove the technology that turned Google into a multi-billion company has been invented in Russia as it all looks way too much like a PR action and nothing else, I think it is still interesting watching companies continuing to claim they are supposed to be responsible for some part of Google’s success and hoping to actually build some smaller-scale success of their own in doing so.
Via (in Russian)