Google settles lawsuit over AI chip patent that seeks $1.67 billion in damages

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Written by Blake Brittain and Nate Raymond

(Reuters) – Google Inc on Wednesday reached a settlement in a patent infringement lawsuit over chips that power the company’s artificial intelligence technology, according to a filing in Massachusetts federal court.

The settlement comes on the same day that closing arguments were scheduled to begin in the trial of the lawsuit brought by Singular Computing, which sought $1.67 billion in damages for Google’s alleged misuse of its computer processing innovations.

Details of the settlement were not immediately available. Representatives of Google and Singular confirmed the settlement but did not provide further information about it.

Google spokesman Jose Castañeda said the company did not infringe Singular’s patent rights and was “pleased that this matter has been resolved.”

Singular, founded by Massachusetts-based computer scientist Joseph Bates, claimed that Google had integrated its technology into the processing units that power AI features in Google Search, Gmail, Google Translate, and other Google services.

The 2019 lawsuit said Bates shared his inventions with the company between 2010 and 2014. It alleged that Google’s Tensor processing units copied Bates’ technology and infringed two patents.

Google introduced the modules in 2016 to power the artificial intelligence used for speech recognition, content creation, ad recommendation and other functions. Singular said Versions 2 and 3 of the units, introduced in 2017 and 2018, infringed its patent rights.

Internal emails cited during the trial’s opening statements on January 9 showed that Jeff Dean, Google’s current chief scientist, wrote to others about how Bates’ ideas could be a “perfect fit” for what Google was developing.

Google responded that the employees who designed its chips had never met Bates and created them independently. The company said its technology is “radically different from what is described in Singular’s patents.”

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington and Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by David Barrio, Chizuo Nomiyama and Thomas Janowski)

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