In a surprising legal blow to Google, a federal jury in the Western District of Texas’s Waco division has found the tech giant liable for infringing upon patented technology owned by Touchstream Technologies. The patented technology is related to video casting, a method claimed to be invented by Touchstream’s founder, David Strober, who was formerly an e-learning instructional designer at SUNY Westchester Community College. According to Touchstream, Strober’s groundbreaking innovation allowed users to play videos from smaller devices, such as smartphones, on larger screens like TVs and computer monitors.
The trial, which lasted for four days, involved the presentation of evidence regarding the technology in question and the alleged infringement by Google’s Chromecast video casting products. The jury unanimously ruled in favor of Touchstream Technologies, finding that Google’s Chromecast devices infringed upon three of Touchstream’s patents. The patents at the core of the dispute are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,356,251; 8,782,528; and 8,904,289. To defend itself, Google had previously challenged the validity of these patents in inter partes reviews at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, arguing that they were based on obvious prior inventions. However, the board agreed to review the patents, and final decisions on their validity were expected in September or October.
Touchstream Technologies claimed that, in 2011, it approached Google with the opportunity to collaborate on their patented technology, but Google declined the partnership. Subsequently, in 2013, Google released its Chromecast devices, which allegedly infringed upon the patents in question. The jury’s ruling confirmed that Google’s Chromecast devices did indeed infringe upon Touchstream’s patented technology, leading to a $338.7 million damages verdict.