A landmark trial pitting Google against Intellectual Ventures, the standard bearer for a controversial breed of companies known as patent trolls, has ended in a hung jury, according to a report from Reuters. The outcome, which came after a day of deliberations in Delaware federal court, means the proceedings have ended in a mistrial.
The news — later confirmed in a statement posted by Intellectual Ventures on its site — will come as a letdown to those who were hoping that the trial would provide momentum to one side or the other at a time of national debate over the legitimacy of patent trolling. Currently, all three branches of government are deliberating over how to reform the patent system and what to do about trolls, which don’t make anything but instead amass old patents in order to demand royalty payments from companies that do.
This week’s proceedings represented the first time that Intellectual Ventures, which controls thousands of shell companies, has gone to trial directly over patents, and came about after IV sued Google’s subsidiary Motorola Mobility in 2011. Motorola denies the infringement accusations. An earlier Reuters report provides full background on the case.