Google loses yet another legal battle, this time over Chromecast

Just as the original Chromecast streaming dongle is turning 10 years old, a new controversy has surfaced involving the popular streaming technology. A federal jury in Texas has decided that Google’s Chromecast and other devices using the same technology are infringing on a patent and must pay $338.7 in damages.

As reported by Reuters, the lawsuit was brought forth in 2021 by New York-based company Touchstream Technologies. Touchstream demanded a shocking $338.7 million in damages, a dollar amount that has been fully awarded in this case’s decision.

This is a significant legal setback for Alphabet’s Google, as a similar legal dispute was lost by the company just a few months ago when the company was ordered to pay Sonos $32.5 million in damages in a case involving its smart speakers. Now, it seems like history is repeating itself, except this case is much bigger.

Touchstream Technologies, known for developing the social video app “Shodogg,” alleged that Google’s popular Chromecast and other devices were infringing upon patents related to the streaming of videos from one screen to another. The company claimed that its founder, David Strober, invented the technology in 2010, allowing users to “move” videos from smaller devices, such as smartphones, to larger screens like televisions.
According to Touchstream’s complaint, Google had met with them in December 2011 to discuss their technology but subsequently expressed disinterest just two months later. This was followed by Google’s introduction of its Chromecast media-streaming devices in 2013, which Touchstream alleged had copied their innovations and infringed on three of their patents. The lawsuit also included claims of infringement on Touchstream’s patents by Google’s Home and Nest smart speakers, as well as third-party televisions and speakers with Chromecast capabilities.

A Google spokesperson has since then responded to the verdict by stating that the patents are invalid and that company does plan to appeal the decision. Additionally, Google stated that they have “always developed technology independently and competed on the merits of our ideas.”

This victory, however, raises questions about the state of similar other pending lawsuits Touchstream has filed against cable companies such as Comcast, Charter, etc. It will be interesting to see how this develops and how, if at all, it will affect the pace of innovation when it comes to media streaming.

Header image by EricaJoy, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons