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Xerox sues Google, Yahoo over search patents

Copy machines at law firms are busy making duplicates of a new filing against Google and Yahoo claiming their search technology infringes on Xerox patents.

Two Internet search giants are being sued by the company that claims it owns the patents to search technology: Xerox.

Google and Yahoo are named in Xerox's complaint, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Delaware (click for PDF), as operating products and services that infringe on two Xerox patents for organizing documents. The two patents, No. 6,778,979 and No. 6,236,994, were granted to Xerox in 2004 and 2001, respectively.

In its complaint, Xerox said various services from Google and Yahoo--including AdWords, Yahoo Search, and YouTube--fall under the scope of the patents, entitled "System for Automatically Generating Queries" and "Method and Apparatus for the Integration of Information and Knowledge." Xerox is seeking an injunction against Google and Yahoo as part of the case, which is a relatively common move in patent trials.

Google and Yahoo representatives told Reuters they intend to fight the charges. A Xerox representative told Bloomberg that the company tried to work out a licensing deal with the two companies but was unsuccessful.

And so begins another potentially messy patent feud. Kodak recently sued Apple and Research in Motion for patent infringement, while Apple wages a separate patent battle against Nokia.