Google Sued for Patent Infringement Over its Maps API

Navigation device manufacturer InfoGation filed a complaint against Google for patent infringement regarding its mobile navigation system. The patent-in-suit is U.S. Patent No. 6,292,743 (“the ’743 Patent”), entitled “Mobile Navigation System.” Google’s allegedly infringing product is the Google Maps API.

InfoGation develops “on-board and handheld vehicle navigation solutions.” This includes “vehicle-based turn-by-turn driving directions with accurate voice guidance, real-time travel content, and communications integration solutions.” The ’743 patent “is directed to a mobile navigation system wherein the client navigation computer wirelessly connects to a navigation server, receives optimal route information from that navigation server that is formatted using a non-proprietary, natural language description, reconstructs the optimal route from that non-proprietary, natural language description using a mapping database coupled to the navigation computer, and displays the optimal route on a display screen using that mapping database.”

The plaintiff alleged that Google infringed claims 1 and 21 of the ’743 patent through “making, using, selling and/or offering to sell the Google Maps API.” Google Maps API “provides an optimal route using real-time information from a server of a navigation system.” For instance, the Google Maps API DirectionService “communicates with the Google Maps API Directions which receives direction requests and returns an efficient path.” It optimizes time travel-time but also factors in distance and number of turns.

InfoGation said the “[u]se of the Google Maps API requires formatting the optimal route into a non-proprietary, natural language description. The description prepared by use of the Google Maps API is non-proprietary at least because the description is formatted using standardized messages based on a published API. Further, the description is natural language at least because the description comprises natural language phrases such as ‘Turn left at W. 4th St.’” This “requires reconstructing the optimal route by the client using a local mapping database and displaying the optimal route” to the client.

InfoGation accused Google of directly and indirectly infringing on the patent, as well as inducing the infringement of developers and its users. Google has also allegedly advertised and instructed users to use this in an infringing way.

InfoGation has sought judgment in its favor, a permanent injunction, an award for damages, and award for costs and fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, and other relief as determined by the court.

The suit was filed in the Texas Western District Court. InfoGation is represented by Siebman, Forrest, Burg & Smith.