Google Slams Patent Wars

By Gary Kim August 04, 2011

“Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents,” said David Drummond, Google SVP and chief legal officer.

You might expect Google to say something like that, facing a Microsoft-Apple bid to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and the already-completely acquisition of Nortel’s patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple).

“Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it,” said Drummond.

A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 potential patent claims, and Drummond argues that Android comeptitors want to impose a “tax” on manufacturers to sell Android devices.

“Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation,” Drummond said.

Drummond argued that the $4.5 billion paid for Nortel’s patent portfolio, about five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion, will draw regulatory scrutiny.

In fact, the Department of Justice apparently already is looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means.

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Gary Kim is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

Contributing Editor

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