BBC News reports a Texas jury found Google guilty of infringing a patent related to the Linux kernel. The search giant is ordered to cough up $5 million to a firm called Bedrock Computer Technologies.
The case resulted in a victory for a firm called Bedrock Computer Technologies which has also sued Yahoo, MySpace, Amazon, PayPal, Match.com and AOL.
"The amount of the fine is not what makes this an important issue," intellectual property activist Florian Mueller told BBC News.
"This is a modest amount considering Google is probably the largest scale Linux user in the world.
"The implication here is really that there is a huge number of Linux users who will be required to pay royalties if this patent holder knocks on their doors in the US. This is definitely a major impediment to the growth of Linux and makes companies, including Google, that rely on open source code particularly vulnerable to patent threats."