In a high-stakes legal battle, Alphabet’s Google is set to appear before a federal jury in Boston on Tuesday, defending itself against accusations by Singular Computing that its processors infringe on patents held by Massachusetts-based computer scientist Joseph Bates.
Singular Computing, founded by Bates, alleges that Google copied his technology, using it to power artificial intelligence features in flagship products such as Google Search, Gmail, and Google Translate.
The lawsuit, filed in 2019, claims that Singular’s patented technology was shared with Google between 2010 and 2014, during which time the tech giant developed its Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) that allegedly incorporate Bates’ innovations, reported Reuters.
Google, in a court filing, has labeled Singular’s patents as “dubious” and asserted that its processors were developed independently over many years. The company’s spokesperson, Jose Castaneda, stated, “We look forward to setting the record straight in court.”
Singular Computing is seeking a staggering $7 billion in monetary damages, more than double the largest-ever patent infringement award in U.S. history. The trial, expected to last two to three weeks, will scrutinize whether Google’s TPUs indeed infringe on Bates’ patented technology.
According to Singular’s complaint, Google’s TPUs, introduced in 2016 and subsequently updated in 2017 and 2018, violate two patents held by Bates. The complaint alleges that Google’s processors utilize an improved architecture discovered by Bates, revolutionizing AI training and inference capabilities.
In response, Google argued that its processors operate differently from Singular’s patented technology and that the patents are invalid. The company also claimed that its engineers rejected Bates’ technology, stating explicitly that it was not suitable for the applications Google was developing.
Adding another layer to the legal saga, a U.S. appeals court in Washington is set to hear arguments on Tuesday regarding the validity of Singular’s patents in a separate case. Google has appealed a decision from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, seeking to invalidate Singular’s patents.