Online search leader Google Inc. has won a key court ruling in a patent dispute over its popular three-dimensional software that provides Internet tours of the Earth.
In a summary judgment issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock in Massachusetts decided that Google Earth doesn't infringe on a patent issued to Skyline Software Systems Inc. in 2002.
Skyline, a privately held company in Chantilly, Va., had been pursuing a patent infringement claim since 2004 when it first sued Keyhole Inc., whose technology powers Google Earth. Mountain View-based Google bought Keyhole for an undisclosed amount in October 2004.
Keyhole's 3-D technology powers mapping software that ranks among Google's biggest successes outside of its search engine. Google said its Earth software has been downloaded more than 100 million times [...continue article]