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Xerox launches patent fight against Google, Yahoo

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google and Yahoo plan to fight a lawsuit filed last week by Xerox, which claims that the two search-engine giants infringed on the copier and printing company's patents.

Xerox Corp. (XRX, Fortune 500) filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Delaware on Friday, claiming Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500), Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), and Google subsidiary YouTube violate two Xerox patents related to automatically-generated search queries and data integration.

"We have been in dialogue with Google and Yahoo! for some time about licensing these patents, without reaching a resolution," Xerox spokesman Bill McKee said in an e-mailed statement. "We believe we have no option but to file suit to properly protect our intellectual property."

Granted in 2001 and 2004, the Xerox patents cover methods for integrating hetrogeneous data and for automatically searching for related content. Xerox claims that a wide variety of products are infringing on those patents, including Google's Maps, Video, AdSense and AdWords, and Yahoo's Search Marketing and Publisher Network.

Representatives of Yahoo and Google said they will fight the lawsuit.

"Yahoo does not believe we infringe and plans to fight this case," Yahoo corporate communications manager Dana Lengkeek said.

"We believe these claims are entirely without merit and plan to defend against them vigorously," Google's senior litigation counsel Catherine Lacavera said in a prepared statement.

Xerox is seeking damages in an amount to be determined, and an injunction blocking Google and Yahoo from further infringement of the two patents in question.

The company is no stranger to patent skirmishes. In 1997, Xerox sued a predecessor to Palm Inc. over the handheld's Graffiti text-entry system. The battle eventually forced Palm to abandon Graffiti, and nine years later, Palm finally settled the suit, paying Xerox $22.5 million to license three Xerox patents. To top of page

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