Motorola Mobility has 17,000 Patents, 18 Are Important to Android

When the news broke that Google had acquired Motorola everyone was surprised to say the least. The patent wars of late have been getting very old and it seems most of the OEM's welcome the deal and see it as protection to the Android ecosystem. A new report has came out after a few have dug through the patent portfolio from Motorola and they are now mentioning what will be the key patents for Google and Android thanks to Motorola.

Google fined $5m for Linux patent infringement: Is Android next?

Google has been fined $5m after a Texas court found the company guilty of infringing a Linux kernel patent, in a move that experts believe could significantly hamper open-source software's growth. The fallout of the case, filed by Bedrock Computer Technologies, could see users of Android eventually chased for licensing fees, reports the BBC. The specific patent infringement actually refers to Google's server farm and the Linux kernel used there; the patent itself covers "methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data." Bedrock also accused Softlayer Technologies, CitiWare Technology Solutions, Yahoo!, MySpace,, PayPal,, AOL and the CME Group of similar infringement. However, FOSS Patents suggests, the repercussions could see Android the next key target. "Google might have to modify the Linux kernel it distributes with Android in order to remove the infringing code" patent activist Florian Mueller suggests, "because otherwise there's always the risk of contributory infringement should any app make use of that portion of the Linux kernel." [via Mobileburn]

Motorola Applies for Trademark Patent Over “Stadia” for New Device

The big "M" has gone in for a trademark patent over the name "Stadia" with an attached note saying that the name be fixed with a "game device in the nature of handheld units for playing electronic games for use with external display screen or monitor," as well as an "electronic non-medical portable device for measuring, storing, transferring and synchronizing an individual's physical exercise and activity levels including date, time, heart rate, global positioning, direction, distance, altitude, speed, distance, calories and temperature." Physical activity game device? Sounds interesting, yes? Is it a phone? Is it a controller? Is it a wild animal?!

Microsoft Files Patent Lawsuit Against Motorola

In a public statement, Microsoft has announced that they have filed a patent lawsuit against Motorola with the International Trade Commission, based on the essential functionality that Motorola employs in their Android-based smartphones. Microsoft is saying that Motorola has violated several patents, all of which have something to do with specific uses of the User Experience. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington earlier today.

HTC Has To Pay Microsoft To Use Android?

This came completely out of left field. Microsoft made a few claims that HTC infringed on a few of their patents. HTC obviously agreed that they did and will now pay royalties to not only Google but Microsoft as well to use Android on their handsets.

Courts could insist HTC remotely strip Android functionality?

Over the years we've learnt to take these doomsday predictions with a pinch of salt, but according to an IP expert one potential outcome of the Apple lawsuit against HTC is that the courts could rule existing handsets - meaning the Nexus One, Hero, DROID or other Android device in your pocket - must be remotely downgraded to remove contentious functionality.  Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain told the NYT that "if the court were to side with Apple and issue an injunction that insists HTC kill the phone, or at least some of its functionality, they easily could." Zittrain points to a previous case between TiVo and EchoStar, in which the latter was accused of impinging on certain DVR patents.  The courts eventually ruled that EchoStar must arrange for a remote software change on all the affected machines, stripping them of existing features.  While other legal experts reckon courts have moved away from such blanket decisions, it nonetheless means that any outcome of the Apple/HTC case could have implications not only for future devices but for those users have already paid for. Of course, such a ruling would be strongly contested by an HTC countersuit, and Google have thrown their hat into the ring stating that they "stand behind" both Android and their OHA partners. [via SlashGear]

HTC sued by Apple over alleged patent infringement

Apple have announced that they are suing HTC over various smartphone patents.  In their release, Apple claims HTC have impinged on 20 patents regarding the iPhone's user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.  While the specific patents aren't named, it's expected that multitouch will play a big part in Apple's complaint. Apple have previously threatened Palm with lawsuits over their intellectual property, and recently sued Nokia for alleged patent infringement.  We've checked with HTC who have no official comment at this point, but we can't imagine they'll sit by peacefully and allow Apple to walk on over them.
“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it … We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours” Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple
[via SlashGear]

Google Patent Application Influenced G1 Design?

A patent application filed by Google was recently uncovered, showing design ideas for a device not too unfamiliar to the Android-devoted. The application, filed in August 2007, details out a device with a touch screen interface on a slider mechanism covering a full QWERTY keypad. Based on the drawings included with the patent, it would appear we've already seen realization of this dream (gah I'm so funny), but we can't help wondering what would've happened without the help of HTC. Was Google prepared to enter the hardware sector? Or were they hoping all along for a manufacturer to pick up on this patent and offer up a partnership? Based on the patent application, Google spent a considerable amount of time scheming up the G1's current slider "arc" motion. A good number of the patent's points are used to describe the precise movement that the screen on the G1 takes when it is opened or closed. This almost makes it a good idea to keep an eye on hardware patent applications from Google, possibly lending insight into what the software giant has prepared for Android next.

Google axed Android multitouch at Apple’s request

Multitouch support was dropped from the Android platform, and therefore the T-Mobile G1, after Apple requested it not be included.  That's the latest rumor, apparently confirmed by an unnamed Android team member, who described the arrangement as an attempt by Google to avoid the IP aggression we've recently seen between Apple and Palm. While the G1's capacitive touchscreen certainly recognizes multitouch input - as recent hacks have demonstrated - and earlier builds of Android code included what's believed to be Google-written, but subsequently disabled, multitouch support, the functionality did not ship in the released device.  At the time, this was generally put down to Google's ambitious launch schedule, promising an Android device by the end of 2008, and that lack of timing meaning that multitouch fell by the wayside.  However it now looks as though its omission was purposeful, with Google prioritizing their good working relationship with Apple - and, some might say, common foe in Microsoft - over the handset's eventual capabilities. The unnamed source also confirmed the rumors that Intel is expending great efforts in supporting Android netbook development, suggesting that the chipset company is keen to be further involved in open-source budget ultraportable hardware.  While Intel's specific plans are unknown, the Android team member revealed that there are many different Android-based netbooks - as well as other, non-phone and non-netbook hardware - in development at present.
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