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Google Faces US$1.67bn Lawsuit Over Alleged Patent Infringement in AI Technology Trial

Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, is currently facing a federal jury trial in Boston where it is being accused of infringing patents related to the processors used in its artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Credit: Unsplash

The computer scientist behind the claims, Joseph Bates, is seeking US$1.67 billion in damages for the alleged patent infringement.

According to Bates' lawyer, Kerry Timbers, Google copied his client's technology after multiple meetings where Bates shared his ideas to solve a key problem in AI development. Instead of licensing the technology, Google allegedly incorporated it into its own AI-supporting chips without Bates' knowledge.

The innovations developed by Bates were reportedly integrated into Google's Tensor Processing Units, which are used to power AI features in various Google products, including Google Search, Gmail, and Google Translate.

Internal emails presented as evidence in the trial show that Google's current chief scientist, Jeff Dean, acknowledged the suitability of Bates' ideas for their AI development. Another employee even admitted to being influenced by Bates' concepts.

In his opening statement, Timbers emphasized the importance of respecting others' intellectual property and giving credit where it is due. He argued that Google's actions violated these principles.

However, Google's lawyer, Robert Van Nest, countered the claims by stating that the employees who designed the chips never met Bates and developed them independently. Van Nest described Bates as a "a disappointed inventor" who had failed to convince other companies, including Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Inc, and OpenAI, to adopt his technology.

Van Nest also argued that Google's chips were fundamentally different from what was described in Singular's patents. He claimed that Bates' technology used approximate math that could lead to "incorrect" calculations.

Prior to the trial, Singular had initially demanded up to US$7 billion in damages from Google for patent infringement. During the trial, Timbers revised the damages demand to US$1.67 billion.

Google introduced its processing units in 2016 to power various AI applications such as speech recognition, content generation, and ad recommendation. Singular alleges that versions 2 and 3 of these units, introduced in 2017 and 2018, violate its patent rights.

In a separate case, a U.S. appeals court in Washington is also considering whether to invalidate Singular's patents, following an appeal by Google to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

  • Google is facing a US$1.67 billion damages demand in a patent trial related to its AI technology.

  • Computer scientist Joseph Bates claims that Google copied his technology without permission.

  • Google argues that the chips it developed are fundamentally different from Bates' patented technology.


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