On Tuesday, Alphabet’s Google persuaded a U.S. appeals court to invalidate three anti-malware patents that formed the basis of a $20 million infringement verdict against the company in Texas.
According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Alfonso Cioffi and Allen Rozman’s patents were deemed void as they included innovations that were not present in an earlier version of the patent.
José Castañeda, a Google spokesperson, expressed gratitude for the ruling, while representatives for the inventors did not respond immediately.
In 2013, Cioffi, Rozman’s daughters, and their legal team sued Google in a federal court in East Texas, alleging that Google’s Chrome web browser’s anti-malware features breached their patents for technology that prevented the malware from accessing essential files on a computer.
In 2017, a jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. It awarded them $20 million in damages as well as ongoing royalties expected to total around $7 million per year for the following nine years.
However, on Tuesday, the Federal Circuit declared that all the patents were invalid. The three patents were reissued from an earlier anti-malware patent, and federal law stipulated that the new patents must encompass the same invention as the first, which the unanimous three-judge panel concluded was not the case.
The appeals court explained that the new patents outlined technology that was specific to web browsers, which the first patent did not mention.
The case is Cioffi v. Google LLC, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 18-1049.