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Google must stand trial on Autolink patents

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Bloomberg News / December 27, 2007

NEW YORK - Google Inc., owner of the most-used Internet search engine, must face a Wisconsin company's lawsuit over a toolbar feature that generates Web links from computer-search data, a federal appeals court decided.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington yesterday revived part of HyperPhrase Technologies LLC's lawsuit, throwing out a lower court ruling that Google's AutoLink feature didn't infringe its patents.

As part of Google's Web browser toolbar, AutoLink gives users more information than standard Web links. It recognizes data such as addresses and book numbers, then provides links to online maps or books on Amazon.com.

HyperPhrase also had targeted Google's AdSense, a technology that lets companies run text ads relevant to the content on their websites. The appeals court said AdSense didn't infringe HyperPhrase's patents.

"We're very pleased that the Federal Circuit agreed that AdSense does not infringe any of HyperPhrase's patents," said Michael Kwun, a lawyer for Google. "We continue to believe the remaining claims in the lawsuit are without merit, and will vigorously defend against those claims."

Closely held HyperPhrase said in an April 2006 lawsuit that Google used its inventions without permission. It sought compensation and an order blocking Google from using the technology.

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