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Google sued over mobile Chrome by patent firm

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Google’s mobile Chrome browser is facing its first patent suit in a Texas court.

EMG Technology has accused Google of infringing a patent covering simplified navigation on smartphones and tablets.

EMG, based in Santa Monica, California, is seeking unspecified damages and the standard injunction preventing the distribution and sale of the Chrome mobile browser in the US.

The patent in question is US Patent 7,441,196 C1 ('196) and can be seen here.

Google was unavailable to comment at the time of writing.

The action has been filed in the litigant-friendly District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. Small companies, especially, thrive there. XML development specialist i4i and web technologies company Eolas have both launched successful suits against the world's largest software company here.

In a suit dating back to 1999, Eolas claimed Internet Explorer violated one of its patents on opening third-party applications like Flash within a browser. Eolas settled in 2007 after Microsoft lost the first case but won an appeal on the ruling that required the company to pay Eolas more than $500m. The settlement amount was undisclosed.

i4i claimed Word 2003 and 2007 violated XML patents it owned. The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, where Microsoft lost and was ordered to pay $300m in damages.

Plenty of other giants have been taken to court in East Texas by minnows while the elite – Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Nokia among them – have not been averse to duelling in the jurisdiction.

There is every chance device-makers who use the Chrome mobile browser will also be drawn into the Vietnam that is East Texas. Elliot Gottfurcht, managing member and lead inventor of EMG's patent portfolio, in a statement on the Google prosecution here pointed to mobile devices from Samsung that are also using Chrome Mobile.

Having settled with Microsoft over IE, Eolas went on to prosecute Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, the former Sun Microsystems, YouTube, Blockbuster, JP Morgan Chase, JC Penny and Playboy Enterprises over the concept of in-browser applications and most plug-ins – though it was less successful in that case.

EMG Technology previously slapped Apple with a patent infringement lawsuit over the iPhone's browser. ®

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