Google Accused Of Stealing Patented AI Technology In A $1.67 Billion Case
Singular Computing’s Allegations
Google, a tech giant known for its innovative strides in the field of technology, has been hit with a new lawsuit. Singular Computing, a Massachusetts-based tech company, has accused Google of stealing patented AI technology related to Tensor Processing Units (TPUs). The lawsuit alleges that Google incorporated this patented technology into their AI-based processors after several meetings with Singular’s founder, Joseph Bates, between 2010 and 2014.
The Stolen Tech in Google’s Services
According to Kerry Timbers, a counsel for Singular, the allegedly copied technologies form the foundation for AI features in various Google services, including Search, Gmail, and Translate. Evidence presented in court included emails from Google’s current chief scientist, Jeff Dean, discussing how Singular’s technology could be “really well suited” for Google’s products.
Google’s Defense Against Singular Computing Accusations
In response to the allegations, Google’s lawyer, Robert Van Nest, argued that the team responsible for the development of these chipsets never met with Singular’s founder and came up with the designs independently. Van Nest described Bates as “a disappointed inventor” and mentioned that Singular had previously approached other AI-focused companies, including Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI.
While Google’s pretrial documents indicated that Singular Computing was seeking up to $7 billion in damages for the alleged infringement, Singular’s lawyers clarified during the trial that they were seeking only $1.67 billion.
Google’s first TPU was announced in 2016, and the company has been using them in its data centers since at least 2015. These TPUs have been instrumental in improving the relevance of search results and enhancing features like Street View. Currently, in their fifth generation, Google’s TPUs are being used to train AI models over its cloud infrastructure.
Google's Ongoing Legal Battles
The plaintiff alleges that the second and third versions of Google’s TPUs, which debuted in 2017 and 2018, infringe on Singular’s patents. In addition to this case, Google is also contesting Singular Computing’s claims in a Washington appeals court, based on an appeal it filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Google's Other Lawsuits
This is not the only high-profile lawsuit Google is currently involved in. Last month, a jury ruled in favor of Epic Games in another case against Google, which has since appealed the decision. Shortly after, Google announced a $700 million settlement in a separate antitrust lawsuit related to the Play Store.