Fed Circuit Affirms Google’s Win Against 3D Spreadsheet Patent Claims

On Thursday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed that Google’s spreadsheet programme does not infringe patents owned by a subsidiary of Acacia Research.

Texas-based Data Engine Technologies LLC, a subsidiary of Acacia Research, first sued Mountain View California-based Google in 2014, claiming that its Google Sheets spreadsheet programme infringed patents related to using notebook-style tabs to arrange and display information in three-dimensional electronic spreadsheets.  

However, under the patents’ definition, Google Sheet does not count as a “three-dimensional spreadsheet”, wrote US Circuit Judge Kara Stoll for a unanimous three-judge panel. The judges also rejected Data Engine Technologies LLC’s argument for an interpretation of a “three-dimensional spreadsheet” that differed from what it raised when it was defending the patents’ validity. 

Previously, the Federal Circuit had found that the patents at issue were valid in 2018. This reversed a 2016 decision to invalidate the patents at Google’s request as the claims were directed to abstract ideas. 

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