University Claims Patent for Distributed Search, Licensee Sues Google

A Boston-area company named Jarg has filed suit against Google in defense of a 1997 patent surrounding distributed search.

The patent is for a method for breaking up search queries into multiple portions and having each part processed by a different computer. This technology powers a very large part of the business that Google does.

Jarg claims that Northeastern University associate professor Kenneth Baclawski filed the patent and assigned rights to the university. Jarg, which Baclawski co-founded, then licensed the patent back from Northeastern. The company filed the lawsuit in a Texas venue that has a reputation for plaintiff-friendly decisions.

My experience in tech research is that it can be difficult to tell who invented something and when because there's an awful lot of back-and-forth among technologists -- to say nothing of the market's serendipity. Do you think there's anything here? Give me your opinion at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Peter Varhol on November 13, 2007 at 11:57 AM