Google attacks the opposition

Google attacks the oppositionIn recent months we’ve seen patent wars heat up with more and more mobile companies attacking each other over intellectual property. Google have come out fighting with this statement on their blog. Google are proud of Android – they state that it’s “on fire” with more that 550,000 devices getting activated daily.


Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.

To be honest it’s good to see Google attacking the opposition. HTC and other partners have been hit by lawsuits recently but we’ve not seen a great deal of comment from the people behind the Android OS.

They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Phone 7; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.

We’re not naive; technology is a tough and ever-changing industry and we work very hard to stay focused on our own business and make better products. But in this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it.

Update – Thanks to VulakAerr for pointing out this WPCentral article which actually shows that Microsoft invited Google to take part in the consortium. On Twitter Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel, has stated..

Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.

..there’s also an email showing the correspondence between the companies.

Links – Google BlogWPCentral

Credit – Android Central

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  • Steve

    They are all as bad as eachother, focussing on law suits and fighting eachother rather than improving and innovating their products. There is no good guy or bad guy. They are all the same.

  • Dan James

    In response to “To be honest it’s good to see Google attacking the opposition”

    I used to come to this site quite a lot but find my self visiting less and less due to they Android fanism that seems to be taking over.

    Google designed a product that infringes on patents…. if people want to use it they should check what patents are used and be prepared for the cost…

    When Google built the OS they knew full well they were infringing on patents, thats why they dont offer protection for the manafacturers who put the os on the system, where on the other hand MS offers full protection for any manafacturer (in other words, anyone tries to sue HTC over wp7, MS will step in and take them on.)

    People are saying it stifles innovation, but if these patents werent there people wouldnt spend as much money developing systems and we would be miles behind where we were now.

    Google are no different, they have over 9 anti-competative cases running in the EU alone at the moment!
    They are trying to sue the US goverment because the US picked MS over Google, how is that any different?

    • Anonymous

      I agree to an extent. 

      Google had the chance to win the patents and simply got outbid. This does feel like sour grapes. 

      However from the reading I’ve done it also seems like the American patent system is an awful mess. The main problem seems to be that you can patent ideas instead of the technology behind them. I.e. the action of tapping on a phone number to call it can be patented rather than the code used to achieve the result. 

      I’m no expert but I thought that part of the licence fee that OEMs pay MS for WP7 goes towards covering any patents required. 

      It does seem that there is a bit of  patent arms race developing right now with everyone stocking up in order to protect themselves from suits and also to sue others for infringement. 

      It is a bit strange that while the purpose of patents is to promote innovation in this case neither party has actually invented anything themselves. 

      • Anonymous

        The story states that Google were offered to buy into the deal but refused. I don’t see this turns us into fan boys.

        Leigh Geary (Gears)

        • Anonymous

          I wasn’t agreeing with the fanboy part! 

          Engadget have reported that Google responded that they couldn’t co-bid with MS as it would have voided the protection the patents would offer them. 

          Very intriguing. Think this will go on and on.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah. I don’t think theres going to be any clear winner here.

            Leigh Geary (Gears)

          • Dan James

            To get a software patent you have to have a working system, so there is code behind it… but anyone who does lots of coding knows, one persons code can be rewritten so that it doesnt resemble it at all but still does exactly the same thing… This is why they can patent the action rather than the code.

            Apparently Google knew they had to licence the IP system with Oracle and were even in negotiations with them over the price, but thought it was too much and just pressed on without the patent protection.

            As google have also stated, they only wanted these patents to be able to counter-sue, they are being sued because they think they could beat the system, and failed.

      • Emre SÜMENGEN

        There’s just one thing…

        Patents are there, not to promote innovation for everyone, but to preserve rights of the original innovator, from copycats. Thinking anyways other than that, would be infringing rights of the innovator.

        So, when you think about it like that, the one who found out that having a UI like that, having a feature like that, having a gesture like that etc. wants to have rights against the ones that didn’t think to implement those (of course).

        I do agree that the US patent system seems a bit weird though…