Google has reached a settlement in a Massachusetts federal court lawsuit filed by Singular Computing, accusing the tech giant of patent infringement related to its artificial intelligence accelerators. The settlement, finalized just before the commencement of the final court hearings, involves Singular Computing seeking $1.67 billion in damages for alleged patent infringement in computer data processing.
Background: Google’s Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) and Singular’s Allegations
In 2016, Google introduced Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) to power various AI applications, including speech recognition and advertising recommendations. Singular Computing contends that the second and third iterations of TPUs, introduced in 2017 and 2018, violated its patent rights. Founded by Massachusetts computer scientist Joseph Bates, Singular alleges that Google incorporated its technology into TPUs supporting AI features across multiple Google services, such as Search, Gmail, and Translate.
Lawsuit Details: Allegations and Google’s Defense
The lawsuit, initiated in 2019, outlines how Bates shared his ideas with Google between 2010 and 2014, leading to the development of TPUs that allegedly copied Bates’ technology and infringed on two of his patents. At a preliminary hearing on January 9, 2024, emails were presented wherein Google’s chief scientist, Jeff Dean, praised Bates’s ideas, suggesting they could be a “really good fit” for Google’s development. However, Google maintains that the employees who designed its chips never met Bates, emphasizing that its technology differs fundamentally from what is described in Singular’s patents, notes NIX Solutions.
Settlement Conclusion and Ongoing Confidentiality
Details of the settlement remain undisclosed, with representatives from both Google and Singular confirming the resolution without providing additional information. Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda stated after the settlement that the company is pleased the issue has been resolved and asserts that Google did not violate Singular’s patent rights.