A California inventor has sued Google Inc., alleging that its Chrome Web browser for mobile devices infringes on one of his patents. EMG Technology LLC, owned by lead inventor Elliot Gottfurcht, sued Google in the Eastern District of Texas on July 10. The complaint seeks an undetermined amount in damages plus preliminary and permanent injunctions barring Google from distributing its mobile Web browser in violation of his patent. “The browser navigates Web sites and, in doing that, it infringes the patent,” said Stan Gibson, a partner at Los Angeles-based Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell who represents EMG. Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick declined to comment. Google Chrome, released in 2008, is a browser for smartphones and tablets manufactured by Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. that use the Android operating system. EMG has licensed its patent, which was issued on Oct. 21, 2008, to 40 companies. “What the patent covers is navigating a mobile site on a portable device, such as a cellphone or a tablet, using a simplified navigation format,” Gibson said. “The content’s been reformatted so it’s easier to navigate.” Gottfurcht obtained the patent after he retired as a real estate developer, Gibson said. His development projects were primarily in West Los Angeles and included Beverly Park, a residential community located above the Beverly Hills Hotel that is home to numerous celebrities. “He was a real estate developer, and he was retired back in 1999, and he was looking at ways that the Internet would be displayed on the cellphone,” Gibson said. “So he started coming up with ideas on how that would be done.” He first applied for the patent at issue in 1999, Gibson said. EMG has sued several other major companies over the same patent. In 2008, it targeted Apple Inc. and one year later Microsoft Corp. Both cases settled on Jan. 14, 2011; Gibson said the details were confidential. EMG has another four cases pending in the Eastern District of Texas that assert infringement of the same patent against major retailers, some of which have since been dismissed. One case involves The Traveler’s Indemnity Co., while another asserts claims against Radio Shack Corp., Avis Budget Group Inc. and Aetna Inc. Two separate suits, filed earlier this year, are pending against Macy’s and Chrysler Group. Gibson, chairman of the firm’s patent litigation group, has represented individual inventors before. In 2005, he obtained a $1.35 billion settlement in which his client, Gary Michelson, a former spinal surgeon in Los Angeles, agreed to sell his various patented medical devices to Medtronic Inc. and resolve litigation between them. The year earlier, a federal jury in Tennessee had awarded Michelson more than $500 million in damages. Contact Amanda Bronstad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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