EcoFactor v. Google Verdict & Updated Texas IP Trial Tracker

Judge Albright’s busy 2022 trial calendar continues apace. Over the last two weeks the parties in EcoFactor, Inc. v. Google LLC tried their case, with the jury handing back its verdict on Thursday. The case would likely have concluded a couple days earlier, but Central Texas’s flash wintry mix occurrence wiped out Thursday and Friday of the first trial week. Another possible reason for the trial’s slightly greater-than-standard duration is that the Court conducted voir dire on the same morning as openings, rather than scheduling it the week prior, as is Judge Albright’s usual (though not exclusive) practice. Again the Court did not circulate public dial-in information in advance, but it was available on request to chambers.

The jury found Google’s Nest thermostats to infringe one of the two asserted patents, and awarded lump-sum damages of just over $20 million. EcoFactor had been seeking approximately $29 million in damages, calculated as a running royalty. The jury also found that both patents were not invalid, and not “well-understood, routine, and conventional as of the priority date” (i.e., a question directed to part 2 of the Alice patent-eligibility test).

This was Google’s third trial as a patent defendant in Waco. Google obtained a defense verdict last October in its first case against Profectus Technology, and in November was found to infringe in its case against Videoshare.

As is custom, here’s the latest update to our Texas IP trial tracker:

(See Excel Sheet)