Google, Samsung did not infringe DRM patents, East Texas jury finds

By David Yates | Sep 25, 2015

On Sept. 23 a Texas federal jury found Google and Samsung did not infringe on several digital rights management patens in a lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

ContentGuard Holdings, a Plano company, is a developer and licensor of digital rights management (DRM) and related digital content distribution products and technologies.

In 2000, the Xerox Corp. and Microsoft Corp. partnered to form ContentGuard to pursue DRM-related inventions.

On Feb. 5, 2014, ContentGuard filed suit against Google, seeking to restrain the company from allegedly infringing its patents.

In its suit, ContentGuard says its "long history of innovation" in DRM began in the 1990s. At that time, however, no one had yet invented an effective means to prevent piracy of digital content, which could be readily copied and distributed by personal computers.

ContentGuard claims that "virtually every smartphone, tablet, and e-reader produced and sold around the world relies on ContentGuard’s DRM technology."

Without that technology, Content Guard claims many companies that invest billions of dollars to produce movies, videos, books, music and applications would be unwilling to distribute their digital content over the Internet.

In its original complaint, ContentGuard accused Google of infringing the following patents:

- U.S. Patent No. 6,963,859 issued Nov. 8, 2005, for a Content Rendering Repository;

- U.S. Patent No. 7,523,072 issued April 21, 2009, for a System for Controlling the Distribution and Use of Digital Works;

- U.S. Patent No. 7,774,280 issued Aug. 10, 2010, for a System and Method for Managing Transfer of Rights Using Shared State Variables;

- U.S. Patent No. 8,001,053 issued Aug. 16, 2011, for a System and Method for Rights Offering and Granting Using Shared State Variables;

- U.S. Patent No. 7,269,576 issued Sept. 11, 2007, for a Content Rendering Apparatus;

- U.S. Patent No. 8,370,956 issued Feb. 5, 2013, for a System and Method for Rendering Digital Content in Accordance with Usage Rights Information;

- U.S. Patent No. 8,393,007 issued March 5, 2013, for a System and Method for Distributing Digital Content to be Rendered in Accordance with Usage Rights Information;

- U.S. Patent No. 7,225,160 issued May 29, 2007, for Digital Works Having Usage Rights and Method for Creating the Same; and

- U.S. Patent No. 8,583,556 issued Nov. 12, 2013, for a Method of Providing a Digital Asset for Distribution.

At trial, ContentGuard attempted to prove that Google infringed on the following patents, ‘859, ‘072, ‘956, ‘007 and ‘053, and that Samsung infringed on the ‘869, ‘072, and ‘956 patents.

The jury found that ContentGuard failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the companies infringed upon any of the aforementioned patents, according to the charge of the court.

However, the jury also found that Google and Samsung did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that any of the patent claims are invalid.

Prior to the litigation, ContentGuard says it made numerous attempts to negotiate a license agreement with Google’s subsidiary Motorola and, more recently, with Google itself, according to the suit.

ContentGuard is represented by Sam Baxter of McKool Smith PC in Marshall; Holly Engelmann and Seth Hasenour of McKool Smith PC in Dallas; and Robert Cote, Radu Lelutiu of McKool Smith PC in New York.

Google is represented by Kaye Scholer attorneys Robert Unikel, Michael Malacek and Timothy Chao and also attorneys Gregory Thompson and James Mann of Mann Tindel & Thompson in Henderson.

The case is assigned to District Judge Rodney Gilstrap.

Case No. 2:14-cv-00061

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