Google responds to World War Patents, says hostile, organized campaign against Android

Google responds to World War Patents, says hostile, organized campaign against Android

Google SVP and Senior Legal Officer, David Drummond has blogged about the recent trouble Google and their manufacturing partners have had over patents with the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle.

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

He also complained about Apple and Microsoft teaming up to out-bid Google for Novell and Nortel patents and calls for a Justice Department investigation into anti-competitive behavior while at the same time indicating Google would beef up their own patent portfolio.

He didn't seem to indicate Google would be filing to intervene in the Lodsys lawsuits against developers, which Apple has done. With Samsung delaying the launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia due to litigation with Apple, and HTC paying Microsoft $5 per Android handset in licensing fees, Google does have a lot to worry about.

While Android is fast approaching majority share of the smartphone market, Apple enjoys 66% of the profits, and as we've said before, while Apple seems content at making Android uglier, Microsoft wants to make an already less-profitable Android platform even costlier.

We called our most recent podcast with FOSS Patent's Florian Mueller, World War Patents for a reason, and it seems the battles are just beginning.

[Google Blog via Android Central]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Google responds to World War Patents, says hostile, organized campaign against Android

24 Comments

I find it interesting that Google made these "Apple is waging a patent war against us" statements so late in the game. Apple announced a year ago that they were going to defend their intellectual property. I guess Google is finally feeling the pressure enough to make these public statements. Regardless, the courts will determine if the patents are "bogus" or not. IMO, I find this public statement to be utterly hypocritical and truly unnecessary. We totally expect Google to defend their products/services.

You might not be so snarkily "interested" if you actually read the statement, instead of decided it meant whatever you wanted it to mean. Google's release cites an "organized campaign" involving Apple, not Apple's solitary efforts. That organized campaign surfaced only relatively recently in a patently (chuckle) obviously fashion at the Nortel auction.

Yes it has been recent b/c more company's are use patents that others feel is theirs. Google has a long history of trying to circumvent paying for patent fees. Then they use "Open" to hide behind there actions. They are just as bad when it comes to blocking innovation just ask Skyhook. Wish ppl weren't so blind. Everyone and I mean everyone try's to protect what they think is there's. Google is laying the ground work to keep Apple out of the next patent bids.

They are just scared of the new iPhone 5. somewhere in their little minds they think Apple would have given up already.

Drummond is right about the ganging up, but wrong about the "bogus". There is no way Microsoft and the others would have paid out that much money for dud patents.
And it does tend to get overlooked that the way the law is, companies HAVE to defend their patents, in the courts if necessary, or the patents effectively lapse, thus losing the company's shareholders vast sums of value in intellectual property rights.
Of course this only arises because Google appears to have completely ignored many well established patents when developing their software. If they'd been following normal good corporate practice they would have licensed or bought the relevant patents before releasing their software. OK, it's not uncommon to miss a couple of patents, they can be hard to trace sometimes, but we appear to be talking lots of patents here. "Do no evil" Google is just reaping what it has sown.

And it does tend to get overlooked that the way the law is, companies HAVE to defend their patents, in the courts if necessary, or the patents effectively lapse,

This is absolutely incorrect. Companies have to protect trademarks in this fashion, as trademarks are essentially unlimited as long as the holder maintains continuous use. Patents are specifically time-limited, and in return the holder is under no obligation to defend their patents to enjoy continued protection for the full duration of the patent.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark#Comparisonwithpatents.2Cdesignsand_copyright
This is precisely how patent trolls like NTP could shake down RIM for $612 million dollars for violating their patent on wireless delivery of email, despite making no products during during the decade hold on the patent, or taking action against RIM for the first several years of RIM's success.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTP,_Inc.

Most software patents are bogus. The problem is the patent system right now is allowing companies to file patents on concepts rather than designs. The patent system was meant to protect technical specifications and designs, not to be used to prevent people from implementing a concept using their own method and design.

Because the numerous public statements that Google has made denouncing software patents in the current patent system doesn't tell you how Google would react "if the tables were turned"...
Though how do you turn this table? How would a company that refuses to sue other companies based on software patents, end up in a trust that's using software patents to attack another company?

Wouldn't you do your best to keep a collective of your competitors from obtaining patents to prevent you from doing business?

None of the patents the collective won are innovations Google "stole", as you put it. If they were, Novell/Nortel would have sued Google vs auctioning them.

Gruber is typically full of shit. From the linked article:
"But what exactly does Google need to defend against, if not actual patents Android actually violates?"
Because patent holders never hold bogus patents or assert claims on them. Gruber's argument boils down to "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear."
Where have we heard that argument before?

Half baked os lol then what is ios "not baked"...i have both os and they are both very good but evan i can see that android does more although ios5 is closing that gap...all ios needs now is drag and drop of files such as photos,videos etc and it would be perfect....just hate itunes.....we dont all have to be fanboys and evan if we are fanboys we should atleast acknowledge others if the product is good....if android was is that bad why would it be successful then...and apple have the right to sue but its obvious they aee sueing because of the success of android if it wasnt then they would have started the lawsuit the day the g1 was release.....

I agree with you 100%, Apple is suing to try to hamper competition so that they will not have to adapt to peoples wants at the fast pace Android is. Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is a great device and I enjoy using it, but the hardware specs are quickly falling behind Android. And if Android were so bad then why would there be so many iOS developers making apps for Android?

I agree. We don't need a 3D iPhone but give us some specs to match or top the high end android phones. Larger "HD" screen (soprry but the current iPhones screen is real cramped) faster processor. you know. Hell the new Nexus S phone may have quad core. Now if done right that would be one impressive phone.
Apple says "specs don't matter" and that may be true (despite them talking about it in the keynotes) but if you want to stay on top on the android world it does matter.
If I were an developer and I made an iOS app and it was suscussfull I'd be back at the drawing board creating an android one. Price it the same (if its a paid app) and earn double the income.

Lol hate shakespeare...i dont think google is whining....none of these companies were interested in nortel until google bidded and these companies obviously didnt want google to get hold of these patents and the reasons are obvious...lol i could explain my self but it would be too long and i hate typing....anyways as much as i like apple products i really dont like apple as a company or steve jobs(hopefully getting better) to be honest....they just seem very hypocritical(dont know if thats a word)

The post below forgot the correct answer
C) Hold the patents in reserve to threaten countersuits or force a standard cross-licensing deal should Apple/Microsoft/Oracle persist in their litigation.

Why do these blogs keep bringing up Apple's profits as a "fighting" point in this matter.
Google did not make Android to make direct profit. If that was the case, they wouldn't give it away. They made it for reach. Plain and simple. And that's beyond search. That's YouTube, Gmail, Calendar...
Apple makes money off hardware, software...hell, when they sell it through their store, they make all the profit without having to pay a retailer.
So it's like people are suggesting Google got into this EXPECTING to make higher profits than Apple. And that would be idiotic for anyone on this planet to think that. Not to mention, profits would go for OEMs, not Google. And even then, it still correlates because you only have one source for iPhone (and Apple gets majority of that profit from App Store and hardware sales) whereas Android is had from 39 different OEMs so common sense would tell you a single source for a single device would produce more revenue than multiple sources for an item on multiple devices.
So yes, having majority share of the market is what Google wants. While Apple wants profit share. Both their goals are achieved.
As far as the patents, I could care less. If Google is actually infringing, then they're infringing. It's law...you have to follow it. The end. If they aren't infringing, but they still get shafted. Then they'll need to push harder for patent reform.

They bring it up because the other points they use to hang their hat on [marketshare, features, specs, etc] don't apply any longer.
Also, if Android was infringing, why not sue Google? :) Oracle is the only one gutsy enough to do it, to date.

Have you ever used Android? Clearly you have not.
Android is like the PC. It does a bit more the iOS (which in case is like the mac) It has many things like the tap and hold for more options, (those may be "uesless" to you but once you actully use them you'll know. Plus they are "hidden" so its sort of like iOS. Only show what you need) social networking integration (more then just twitter) Personally I'd like to take the core android experience and bring it over to iOS (but of course, in the "apple way") as when I do make the switch I'm gonna miss a lot of stuff.
The only thing "half baked" I would think android has is its stock GUI.