U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office ()

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has preliminarily rejected one of the two patents upon which Google Inc. was ordered last week to pay a multimillion-dollar ongoing royalty to Vringo Inc.

In a release, Vringo acknowledged the PTO had issued a “first, nonfinal rejection” of one of the search engine patents Vringo subsidiary I/P Engine Inc. had accused Google of infringing. But

Vringo indicated it would prevail in the case that involves two patents, three years in court and may eventually put Google on the hook for more than $600 million.

“This result is not unlike the previous three proceedings that Google initiated, which were ultimately resolved in I/P Engine’s favor following I/P Engine’s submission of rebuttal responses and meetings with the Examiners,” Vringo said.

The battle between Vringo and Google began in 2011, when I/P Engine acquired patents from the early search engine Lycos Inc. Within months, I/P Engine asserted two of those patents against Google and a few of its AdWords customers, including AOL Inc. and Target Corp.

In Nov. 2012 a jury sided with Vringo and awarded $30.5 for past infringement. U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson of the Eastern District of Virginia tacked on an additional $17.5 million and also ordered Google to pay Vringo a 1.36 percent royalty on its U.S.-based AdWords revenue.

Vringo started as a ringtone company but now focuses on litigation. It acquired I/P Engine and took over the lawsuits in 2012. A Dickstein Shapiro team led by Jeffrey Sherwood represents Vringo, along with attorneys at Crenshaw Ware & Martin. Google is represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.