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Norfolk infringement verdict is $30M

A Norfolk federal jury has delivered a $30 million verdict in an advertising patent suit. The plaintiff – a small tech company holding a patent for online marketing techniques – had hoped for a bigger recovery in its suit against Internet giants including Google, but the verdict holds promise of far more in future damages.

The jury decided Google and other defendants should pay future royalties based on a percentage of advertising revenue until the patents expire in 2016. That could amount to hundreds of millions more, reports The Virginian-Pilot.

The patents for online advertising technology are owned by I/P Engine, a subsidiary of ring tone vendor Vringo. Vringo sued Google Inc., AOL Inc. and other Internet companies claiming they have been using the patented technology without permission. The suit sought at least $500 million for alleged infringement since 2005.

U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson limited the damages to the period since the suit was filed, and the jury then applied a royalty rate to determine damages based on the companies’ annual revenues.

A post-verdict statement from Google said the company hopes to prevail in post-trial motions or on appeal.

The  case reflects the high stakes of recent patent litigation in Virginia, the Pilot reported. While a Northern Virginia inventor lost a multi-million-dollar patent infringement case against Twitter in the same courthouse last year, another small patent owner settled a claim against Verizon for more than $260 million.

The paper credits the Eastern District’s renowned “rocket docket” for attracting patent litigants.

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