Google has lost a Linux patent infringement lawsuit filed by Texas-based Bedrock Computer Technologies.
The company has been ordered to pay damages of $5 million to Bedrock, which had also named other internet companies including Yahoo, MySpace, Amazon, PayPal, Match.com and AOL as defendants.
A jury has found Google guilty of illegally using the Linux kernel code in its servers and the Android mobile phone operating system. The decision could force other defendants into settling the lawsuit with Bedrock.
The lawsuit could also have serious implications for the 41 other lawsuits Google faces for its Android operating systems, experts have warned. The company might be forced to make changes to its web servers and even the Android platform, which could affect thousands of Android apps.
Google is expected to appeal the court’s decision with the backing of key Linux distributor Red Hat; both companies have asked the courts to declare Bedrock's patents invalid.
“Google can easily afford $5 million if it has to, but this patent infringement case has major implications for the IT industry in general and for Linux in particular. Many companies using Linux have already been required by the patent holder to pay royalties, and many more will now, based on this jury verdict, elect to pay,” patent expert Florian Mueller wrote in a blog post.