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Google is confronted with a demand for $1.67 billion in damages in a patent trial related to artificial intelligence

Alphabet’s Google is currently facing a federal jury trial in Boston over a patent infringement lawsuit, where a computer scientist, Joseph Bates, claims that the tech giant should pay $1.67 billion to his company, Singular Computing, for allegedly copying patented technology related to processors used in artificial intelligence (AI) applications. Bates accuses Google of copying his innovations, which were shared with the company during meetings between 2010 and 2014. According to Bates’ lawyer, Kerry Timbers, Google utilized these innovations in its Tensor Processing Units, supporting AI features in various Google services such as Search, Gmail, and Translate.



Google faces $1.67 bln damages demand at AI-related patent trial | Reuters
Google faces $1.67 bln damages demand at AI-related patent trial

Timbers argued that Google violated Bates’ patents by copying his technology instead of licensing it, emphasizing the importance of respecting intellectual property and giving credit where it is due. He presented internal emails, including messages from Google’s chief scientist Jeff Dean, acknowledging the suitability of Bates’ ideas for their developments.

In response, Google’s lawyer, Robert Van Nest, countered that the employees who designed the chips had never met Bates and independently developed them without using his technology. Van Nest portrayed Bates as a “disappointed inventor” who had unsuccessfully pitched his technology to multiple companies, including Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Amazon, and OpenAI. He argued that Bates’ technology relied on approximate math, leading to potentially “incorrect” calculations.

Before the trial, Google claimed that Singular had initially sought up to $7 billion in damages for patent infringement. However, during the trial, Timbers suggested that Google should pay $1.67 billion for its alleged infringement.

The lawsuit centers on Google’s Tensor Processing Units, introduced in 2016 to power various AI applications. Singular contends that versions 2 and 3 of these units, introduced in 2017 and 2018, violate its patent rights. Simultaneously, a separate case regarding the validity of Singular’s patents is being heard by a U.S. appeals court in Washington, which Google appealed from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The outcome of this trial will have implications for Google’s use of AI-related technologies and its approach to intellectual property in the development of proprietary hardware components. It underscores the challenges and legal complexities associated with innovation in the highly competitive field of artificial intelligence.

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