Google Sued By Northeastern University For Search Engine Patent Infringement


A start-up company, Jarg, founded by a Northeastern professor is also a plaintiff in the complaint. The patent in question was filed Oct. 5, 1994, and awarded Dec. 2, 1997, to Northeastern and Dr. Kenneth Baclawski, an associate professor in Northeastern's computer science department and chief technical architect and co-founder of Waltham, Mass.-based Jarg. It was awarded for the development of a method of information retrieval "using fuzzy queries in a non-relational, distributed database system having a plurality of home nodes and a plurality of query nodes connected by a network" according to the U.S. Patent Web site.

Google was founded in 1998. The suit alleges that Google has never obtained a legal opinion on whether the company infringes on the patent. The plaintiffs are seeking a a jury trial and an injunction against further infringement of the search patent, damages, royalty payments.

Jarg offers two applications on its Web site: Semantic Knowledge Indexing Platform (SKIP), a "next-generation semantic search system" and Jarg Index Server, a retrieval mechanism inside SKIP's semantic search engine, according to its Web site.

Google executives could not be reached for comment but a spokesman for the Mouhntain View, Calif.-based company told Reuters the suit was without merit. "While we have not been served, we are aware of the complaint and believe it to be without merit based upon our initial investigation," Google spokesman Jon Murchison told Reuters.

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