If you think Google is the ‘good guy’ in their new lawsuit with the Rockstar consortium, Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents would like you to reconsider. He recently pointed out that Google has filed for a declaratory judgement, and their lawsuit is rife with double-talk and false innuendo. The search giant stops just shy of calling the Rockstar group patent trolls, but nonetheless eludes to those practices throughout their filing.
According to Mueller, issues in this suit really begin and end with the patent acquisition itself. He notes that Google’s aggressive pursuit of the now-defunct Nortel’s patents led to the very assembly of Rockstar. We’ve mentioned plenty of times that Google’s pursuit of the patents led to the eventual $4.5 billion selling price, but Mueller takes it a step further. He says, in part, “…Google’s aggressive pursuit of the Nortel patent portfolio … forced other industry players to join forces in order to clear the market of these patents. If not for Google’s aggressive pursuit, these patents would have sold at a fraction of the price.”
In his assessment, Google’s failed attempt at the Nortel patents was also a precursor for the Motorola bid. The purchase of Motorola has been widely touted as focussed on the patents rather than hardware or software holdings. As we know now, the patents have had little effect for Google, and serve as a false-front to many recent litigations. Mueller suggests Google was attempting to protect itself similarly with the Nortell patents, which he believes is where Google shows themselves to be the hypocrite.
Since their IPO in 2003, Google has offered up no licensing of their technology, which “is in stark contrast to industry practice.” Mueller goes on to point out that in launching Android, Google essentially took — not licensed — from Apple (multi-touch interface), Microsoft (OS technology), and Oracle (Java). In the filing, Google claims Rockstar has now “placed a cloud” on Android.
Additionally, Mueller properly notes that Google has snapped up several patent packages from the likes of IBM, and some from failed startups Google now “denounces as ‘trolls’”. The report is a damning assessment of Google’s aim — not only with this recent legal tangling, but overall. This is the ebb and flow, though; get sued, claim innocence, then do the same. We won’t say Google is necessarily the ‘bad guy’ in this scenario, but the report is an enlightening look at how they’re just like any other big tech company, not a beacon of exemplary behavior.