Google Speaks Out against Patent Attacks on Android

August 3, 2011
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Google has decided to speak out against the slew of lawsuits, mostly in regards to patents, that have been slung at Android recently. Denouncing the attacks as a "hostile organized campaign" by the likes of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and others. The post, from Google's Chief Legal Officer, says that Google's is looking into a number of ways to defend against these legal attacks, which Google says are being used in lieu of innovation as a means of competing with Android.

If you haven't heard, lately anyone and everyone related to Android seems to be getting their pants sued off by anyone who's owned a tech patent. Oracle's ongoing legal struggle with Google over Android has been dragging on for months, even with the recent revelation of Sun's CEO's initial support of Android. Microsoft has been forcing Android phone manufacturer's to pay fees for each phone sold. Meanwhile Apple is still trying to place injunctions to ban the sales of several of Samsung's Android devices, claiming they are too similar to Apple's own iOS devices.

Clearly all of these lawsuits, are a bit of a pain for Android. As free, open-source software stack, it is an issue that manufacturers are being forced to pay companies like Microsoft and Apple to sell phones that have software Google's giving them for free. This, along with lawsuits like Apple's, Google claims, are attempts to shut Android down, rather than compete with new technology and better products.

Google points that these efforts are uniting, claiming that Apple, Microsoft and others united recently to acquire Novell and Nortel's patents. They also claim that as a result, patent values are being inflated, due to how strong of a weapon they've become in these legal wars.

Patents were created for an important purpose. They allow innovators to receive some reward for their work, which may otherwise be stolen by a larger company with the resources necessary to better implement their work. Today though we've seen some debatable patents. My favorite example has always been the patent on unlocking a touch screen phone by sliding an unlock bar across it, a good idea, but enough for Apple to sue other smartphone OS creators?

So where will we go from here? Google is a big corporation, just like Microsoft, Apple, and the rest. The post itself does little to hide that Google's looking out for itself and Android with this protest against legal battles, but they make some good points. Patents were made to protect small companies and individuals, but now they're being used as weapons by larger companies.

Will all this come to some sort of head, or will the status quo carry on with patents simply being a parasitic in the system raising costs for everyone involved, and potentially crippling the very groups it was meant to protect? Google sure seems to hope its the first, are they right?

[via Google]


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  • Anon

    GO GOOGLE!

  • Brandonjlricker

    About time Google said something, be nice to see LG sue Apple for the iPhone design looks a lot like the LG Prada phone that was released before the first iPhone was even in the top secret works, and new York city counter sueing Apple back cuz Apple believed that the big Apple was takng from the Apple name, lol theirs lots more and its sad to believe a crappy company try and sue over every little thing their either a retarded touch in the head dumbass copycat company or a thiving spoiled rich.kid that has connections and wines a lot cuz Apple got no real balls to play with the bigboys in the sandbox

  • http://fat-tire.myopenid.com/ fattire

    NPR just ran an hour long story about the problem of software patents:

    http://www.directionsmag.com/podcasts/when-patents-attack-this-american-life-npr/191973

    And a follow up on planet money talks about the economic costs:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/08/02/138934689/the-tuesday-podcast-the-patent-war

  • Yorkshireflatcap

    I like Google and I love the Android software which, in a pitch battle like this is, I whole heartedly back as a serious contender.  But, and this is a BIG BUT, I feel after telling my friends of the unfair treatment against Android, I have been left with egg on my face, not as much as David Drummond.  I recently learned that Kent Walker (Google) turned down an invite to bid for the patents from M$’s Brad Smith.  I would like to know why David Drummond said what he said.

    I would also like to know why Microsoft, Oracle, and Apple are accusing Google’s Android as ‘a software that blatantly infringes our (the Big 3′s) patents’. 

    I would seriously like for someone to clear this up for me.

    • http://profiles.google.com/jayq330 Jonathan Oquendo

      the reason that you feel like egg’s in your face is because your friends dont seem to understand the serious threat this is putting into the system, even an apple fanboy if his head is in real world would stop and say holy s**t this is gonna ef everything up apple & microsoft need to stop this. they did it to linux on the desktop department & the linux groups have been saying that free software is part of a bigger picture & our rights! for those who just brushed it off…just look at whats going on here! android is linux, if the linux desktop wasnt stopped by microsoft & apple it would of made things much more interesting & free just as the way android is doing for the smartphone’s! now you see why they stopped the linux desktop from even having a chance & grow, now they want to stop android…theyre afraid of free because it pulls people away from apples overpriced & over praised hardware & from microsofts over priced windows os, $350 for a damn DVD with software of which all they have to do is press copy & for everytime they press copy they get $350!!! cmon it would be alright for $120. android is moving into the tablets & giving a good fight & soon they might be as strong as microsoft, but never as dirty as apples cheap tactics.