A jury in Norfolk, Virginia, today awarded Vringo Inc. (NYSEMKT: VRNG) $30 million in patent infringement suit against Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and several other companies. Vringo, originally a mobile phone ringtone provider, acquired an intellectual property company that owned patents on search technology from companies that are now defunct.
Vringo had been seeking nearly $500 million in damages from Google, AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), IAC/InteractiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI), Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI). The jury declared that Google must pay $15.9 million, while AOL will pay $7.9 million, IAC will pay $6.6 million, Target will pay $98,000, and Gannett will pay $4,000 according to The Virginian-Pilot.
Vringo had wanted damages retroactive to 2005, but the judge limited damages to just the past year, saying that patent owners should have filed earlier.
While not a huge judgment, Vringo’s arguments have persuaded one jury. That may bring the alleged infringers, especially Google, to the bargaining table where the search giant is now in a much better position to negotiate on other Vringo patents. Vringo, of course, can appeal, but the company might be looking at the best deal it’s likely to get.
Vringo’s shares werre up about 7.6% today, at $4.25 in a 52-week range of $0.68 to $5.73 before being halted at around 12:30 p.m. The stock jumped about 39% yesterday.