Google Street View is the popular feature of Google Maps that allows you to see panoramic photographs of, well, pretty much anywhere with different orientations and magnifications. The photographs are stitched together in software to allow the viewer to navigate through a virtual representation of the real world. You may have seen the Google photography cars driving around with an array of cameras, taking pictures of your neighborhood.
If you look for Google Street View today, you will not find it. Why? We can’t say for sure, but it may have something to do with a decision by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Vederi v Google.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Back in the year 2000, Enrico Bernado and Luis Goncalves were Ph.D candidates at CalTech. They attached cameras and a GPS device to Mr. Bernado’s car and drove around Pasadena taking photographs.They also developed software to stitch the photographs together, creating panoramic views and allowing a person to navigate through a virtual representation of the real landscape. The results were available through the City of Pasadena’s website.
Drs. Bernado and Goncalves founded Vederi, LLC and were awarded four patents for their work. Vederi sued Google for patent infringement for its Street View product. The trial court found no infringement based its interpretation of the claims of the patents, but the Federal Circuit Court reversed and sent the case back to the trial court. We suspect that Google believes that Street View infringes the patent claims as interpreted by the Federal Circuit and as a result took Street View off line.
Will we see Google Street View again? Because a patent infringement lawsuit is a license negotiation by another name, we suspect so.
–Robert Yarbrough, Esq.