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Google v Intellectual Ventures patent spat jury: Soz judge, we're stumped on this

No unanimous decision reached, so mistrial declared

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A US judge has declared a mistrial in a patent lawsuit brought by Intellectual Ventures against Googorola after the jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict in the case.

The patent-holding firm set up by former Microsoftie Nathan Myhrvold is suing over three patents covering mobile phones and software, including one that relates to Google Play.

As well as the trial that couldn't be resolved, IV has another case in Delaware that's due to kick off in April dealing with two additional patents. It also has a third suit in Florida court that is expected to go to trial in November.

"Mistrials are an occasional fact of life, and it is disappointing (for us, and probably also for Motorola) that the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict," IV legal eagle Melissa Finocchio said in a statement.

"But we are looking ahead to the retrial on these patents and also to our two other upcoming trials with Motorola Mobility later this year."

It's unclear exactly which firm IV will be suing when the case is tried again as things have gotten a bit murky over at Googorola. Google acquired Motorola Mobility, including the handset-building bit and the sizeable patent portfolio, back in 2012.

But it recently announced it was going to sell the mobile-making bit to Lenovo, while keeping most of the patents. Neither Google nor Motorola returned a request for comment on which of them was actually being sued now that the new Lenovo deal is on the table.

The cases between IV and the entity that we'll continue to call Googorola have been held up as a potential indicator of how the public views the current patent landscape and their outcomes could influence plans in the US government to reform intellectual property rules.

IV, as a patent-holding firm that doesn't make anything, could be viewed as a troll - a company whose only purpose is to sue and coerce licensing fees out of companies involved in actual production and innovation. But IV has insisted that it's a company that's only interested in quality IP and doesn't pursue frivolous lawsuits.

The case against Googorola is the first to go to trial for the firm since it was formed 14 years ago, although it has previously gotten settlements on other claims. Bizarrely, Google was actually an early investor in IV's first patent acquisition fund, but didn't join in later bouts of IP shopping. ®

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