Google looks to “set the record straight” in $7 billion AI patent case

Google Cambridge office exterior pictured in November 2023
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Google is set to defend itself in a US court case in which the tech giant is accused of infringing the patents of another tech company’s Tensor Processing Units (TPUs).

Singular Computing, which initially filed its complaint against Google in late 2019, alleges that the company’s founder Dr Joseph Bates had developed a novel computing architecture which enabled a more efficient use of a computer’s transistors and “revolutionized the way AI training and inference are accomplished”.

A TPU is an application-specific integrated circuit that can be used to accelerate computing tasks used in areas such as machine learning.

The tech firm said that with two versions of its TPUs, Google had infringed patents following several meetings with Bates between 2010 and 2014. Jurors today (9 January) heard that Google allegedly copied the technology in a bid to accelerate AI development goals.

In its complaint, Singular claims Google went on to use the TPUv2 and TPUv3 devices to provide AI capabilities that enhance the performance of its Ads platform as well as its Translate, Photos, Search, Assistant, Cloud, and Gmail services.

Google denies patent infringement claims

In its court filing in December, Google said that it had not infringed the patents, and noted that Singular was requesting up to $7 billion in damages.

“Google engineers had mixed feelings about the technology and the company ultimately rejected it, explicitly telling Dr Bates that his idea was not right for the type of applications Google was developing,” court filings from Google stated.


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According to Reuters, internal emails showed Google chief scientist, Jeff Dean, discussed the potential use of the technology, noting that it would be “really well suited” for Google projects.

In a statement to ITPro, Google spokesperson José Castañeda contested the claims from Singular, adding that the company welcomes the opportunity to settle the matter in court.

“Singular’s patent claims are dubious and currently on appeal. They don’t apply to our Tensor Processing Units, which we developed independently over many years,” Castañeda said. “We look forward to setting the record straight in court."

ITPro has approached Singular Computing for comment.

Steve Ranger

Steve Ranger is an award-winning reporter and editor who writes about technology and business. Previously he was the editorial director at ZDNET and the editor of