Google Must Face Patent Suit Over Street View, Court Says

Google Inc., owner of the most-used search engine, must face revived claims its Street View mapping system infringed a California company’s patents for creating images for visually navigating a geographic area.

The judge in the case erred in his interpretation of what the four Vederi LLC patents covered, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said. In an opinion posted on its website today, the appeals court sent the case back for further proceedings.

Closely held Vederi claimed Street View incorporated its inventions which date to 2000 for methods of creating images that, when combined, can be used to view an area from different angles. Google argued that Vederi’s patents result in flat images, rather than the spherical ones of Street View.

The trial judge agreed and ruled that Google had won the case. A three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit said the patents talked about use of a fish-eye lens, which creates curved images, so they weren’t as limited as the trial judge had decided. The panel ordered the judge to review the case with the new interpretation of what the patents covered.

Street View, which Google made available in 2007, allows users to view a street corner or address from various angles.

Matt Kallman, a spokesman for Google, said the Mountain View, California-based company had no immediate comment.

The case is Vederi LLC v. Google Inc., 13-1057, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Vederi LLC v. Google Inc., 10cv7747, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).