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June 22 — A patent infringement claim against Google over a feature in its Street View product will resume after the Supreme Court declined on June 22 to review a federal appeals court holding on the scope of related patent claims.
The rejection of a Google petition for certiorari in the case leaves intact a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that a patent holder had not disclaimed curved navigable map images.
Vederi LLC of Pasadena, Calif., holds four related patents on methods of presenting images of a geographic area through which a computer user can navigate (U.S. Patent Nos. 7,239,760; 7,577,316; 7,805,025; and 7,813,596).
The Street View feature in Google's online map service allows a user to view photographic images of a street from the perspective of a viewer actually standing on the street.
In October 2010, Vederi sued Google, alleging that the feature infringed its patents. The Supreme Court's action sends the case back to federal district court, with the scope of Vederi's patents now covering curved images.
Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, handled the case while sitting by designation on this case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Kozinski found that an incident in the patent prosecution history resulted in limiting the scope of Vederi's patents to flat views only, thus putting the curved views of Street View outside their reach.
The Patent and Trademark Office had initially rejected a key claim of the patents in light of a prior patent.
In response, Vederi changed a phrase in Claim No. 1 from “non-aerial view” to “substantially elevations,” such that the patent that was eventually issued included a limitation of “the views being substantially elevations of the objects in the geographic area.”
Kozinski construed this phrase to mean that the claim covered only flat-perspective images, rather than the curved-perspective images shown on Street View. Vederi, LLC v. Google, Inc., No. 10-07747 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 26, 2012).
On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed, concluding that Vederi's amendment, in light of the prosecution record, had not demonstrated a clear and unmistakable disavowal of curved images. Vederi, LLC v. Google, Inc., 744 F.3d 1376, 110 U.S.P.Q.2d 1001(Fed. Cir. 2014).
Google petitioned for certiorari in October 2014. The Office of the U.S. Solicitor General recommended against Supreme Court review of the case.
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