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Xerox sues Google and Yahoo! over patentspeak

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Xerox has sued Google and Yahoo!, claiming that various services offered by the two web giants infringe on a pair of its patents.

In a suit (PDF) filed on Friday in a Delaware federal court, the copier king says that several Google and Yahoo! services - including YouTube, Google Maps, AdWords, and Yahoo! Shopping - step on patents it won in 2001 and 2004.

One patent - US patent number 6,778,979 - describes a system for "automatically generating queries," while the other - 6,236,994 - details a "method and apparatus for the integration of information and knowledge."

The Xerox suit claims that Google AdSense, Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, the Yahoo! Publisher Network, and Yahoo!'s Y!Q Contextual Search infringe the query-generating patent, which is packed with some absolutely classic patentspeak:

A system generates a query using an entity extractor, a categorizer, a query generator, and a short run aspect vector. The entity extractor identifies a set of entities in selected document content for searching information related thereto using an information retrieval system. The categorizer defines an organized classification of document content with each class in the organization of content having associated therewith a classification label that corresponds to a category of information in the information retrieval system. The categorizer assigns the selected document content a classification label from the organized classification of content. A query generator formulates a query that restricts a search at the information retrieval system to the category of information in the information retrieval system identified by the assigned classification label. The short length aspect vector generator generates terms for further refining the query using context information surrounding the set of entities in the selected document content

According to the suit, the information-integration patent is infringed by Google Maps, Google Video, YouTube, and Yahoo! Shopping. But it's worth noting that it specifically covers the organization of data "within an enterprise."

The suit says that Xerox previously notified the two web giants of the alleged patent infringement, and a company spokesperson tells Bloomberg that it tried to arrange licensing pacts with Google and Yahoo! but was unsuccessful. ®

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