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Google Withstands Rival’s Patent Challenge

HOUSTON (CN) - Google apps that let users store data online do not violate a rival software developer's patents, a federal judge ruled.

SuperSpeed LLC, a Massachusetts-based company, sued Google in June 2012, claiming Google Drive and Google Docs - applications that facilitate cloud data storage - infringe on its patents.

SuperSpeed sued to protect its patents Nos. 5,577,266 and 5,918,244, which enable data sharing among computers linked in a network.

"The software is designed to work in a network environment known as a shared-disk cluster. In this configuration, multiple computers can all communicate with each other and can all access data from the same data storage device or devices, such as hard disk," SuperSpeed said in its complaint.

For example, SuperSpeed said, its software allows bank employees from different departments to call up a customer's credit card records on separate computers.

Data processing is slow when several computers must communicate with the same hard disk, SuperSpeed claimed.

"SuperSpeed's software helps overcome this problem by permitting data 'caching' in a shared-disk cluster network. 'Caching' accelerates data processing operations by making a copy of frequently accessed data in the random access memory (or 'RAM') of the individual computer that is using the data," the complaint states.

"A computer can access data in RAM approximately two hundred-thousand times faster than data on a hard disk. As a result, caching can increase performance dramatically, particularly when the computer must repeatedly access the same block of data."

SuperSpeed sought royalties and an injunction to "prevent Google's continued unlicensed use of the patented methods."

But U.S. District Judge Sim Lake sided with Google on Friday and determined the Silicon Valley-based search engine behemoth had not infringed on SuperSpeed's patent.

SuperSpeed's expert John Bennett argued that Google's "Application Cache" program that allows a web application to be cached and accessed without an internet connection contains information stored in RAM, and therefore the program infringes on the "caching" aspect of SuperSpeed's patent

Google countered with its own expert witness, John Kubiatowicz, who stated in a declaration that "The AppCache is stored on the hard disk, similar to a normal web browser cache. AppCache is not stored in RAM."

Lake found Google's expert more persuasive.

"The pages of Bennett's report that SuperSpeed cites in support of its argument that AppCache is stored not only on a disk but also in RAM contain references to Google source code, but fail to explain how or why the source code supports Bennett's conclusion that AppCache is stored in RAM," Lake wrote in a 40-page ruling filled with patent and tech jargon.

Though Lake determined that Google's products had not infringed on SuperSpeed's patents, he denied Google's motion to declare the patents invalid.

SuperSpeed's attorney Adam Carlis with Susman Godfrey of Houston declined to comment.

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