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Google Sued For Patent Infringement By Illinois Firm

Illinois Computer Research claims Google Book Search infringes on its "Enhancing Touch and Feel on the Internet" patent.

The Patent Reform Act's approval by the U.S. House of Representatives last week and its imminent consideration by the U.S. Senate came too late for Google, which once again this month finds itself the target of a patent infringement lawsuit.

Illinois Computer Research on Monday sued Google in Illinois' Northern District Court for violating U.S. Patent No. 7,111,252, "Enhancing Touch and Feel on the Internet."

Just last week, Google policy counsel and legislative strategist Johanna Shelton and Michelle Lee, head of patents and patent strategy, called for patent reform in a blog post.

"Unfortunately, the patent system has not kept pace with the changes in the innovation economy," said Shelton and Lee. "Google and other technology companies increasingly face mounting legal costs to defend against frivolous patent claims from parties gaming the system to forestall competition or reap windfall profits."

The Illinois lawsuit identifies Google Book Search as the online service that infringes upon the plaintiff's patent. Google Book Search provides a way to search for books, to navigate through them, and to read them online.

The ICR patent describes a way to represent an item being sold in three dimensions and to view that item from several different directions.

The patent specifically contemplates how a book might be presented online. It details a way to view "the outside portion of the book, specified pages of the book, and [to leaf] through random pages of the book." It also describes a way to limit "the amount of reading that the user can do, to prevent the entire book from simply being read on line."

The inventor listed on the patent is Scott C. Harris of San Diego, Calif. Presumably, he is the same Scott C. Harris listed as a Principal in the San Diego office of Fish & Richardson P.C, a patent prosecution firm.

Two week ago, Google (along with AOL, Amazon, Borders, IAC, and Yahoo) was sued for allegedly violating a patent, "Automatic message interpretation and routing system," held by Polaris IP.

Illinois Computer Research's lawsuit is at least the fifth patent claim to be filed against Google this year.

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