Google has violated a Linux-related patent and has to pay Bedrock Technologies $5 million in damages.
There was no information whether an injunction against Google will also be enforced. However, the plain payment isn’t so much the issue here: It is the implication on the entire Linux ecosystem U.S. Patent No. 5,893,120 may have, as it has been confirm as a valid patent by a court of law.
The patent is described as "methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data" and appears to be relating especially to large Linux server installations. Google may only be the beginning and Bedrock could be in a very strong position to collect royalties across the industry. Foss Patents speculates that companies such as Red Hat may be in a dilemma here and in yet another situation where license payments need to be made.
It is unclear how the average user or developer may be affected. Google's Android, conceivably the most popular form of Linux in the market today, could be affected - as well as applications that touch Bedrock's patent. Foss Patents notes that Google may not only have to change the code in the software running its own server farms, but possibly also infringing code in Android. Overall, the outcome of this patent suit as well as Google's reaction should shed some light on future legal battles Google will have to fight in order to defend its Android platform. According to Foss patents, there are currently 41 Android-related patent suits pending.