Google complains of patent attacks upon Android from Apple, Microsoft

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Google's chief legal officer has posted a public blog entry complaining that Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and others are waging an "organized campaign" against its Android operating system "waged through bogus patents."



The complaint, entitled "When patents attack Android," accuses Apple and Microsoft of "banding together to acquire Novell?s old patents to make sure Google didn?t get them."



It also describes the $15 per phone patent royalties that Android licensee HTC agreed to pay Microsoft as a conspiracy to "make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile."



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



Unbridled hypocrisy



Back in April, Google's general counsel Kent Walker wrote his own public blog entry about patents and innovation, noting an "explosion in patent litigation" while explaining that his company had "decided to bid for Nortel?s patent portfolio in the company?s bankruptcy auction."



Walker also announced, "Nortel selected our bid as the 'stalking-horse bid,' which is the starting point against which others will bid prior to the auction." Google had bid $900 million for the broad portfolio of network-related patents.



However, Google's bid lost, resulting in the patents being won by many of its rivals, including Apple, Microsoft and RIM. After losing the patent auction, Walker noted that "a patent isn?t innovation. It?s the right to block someone else from innovating."



"Patents are government-granted monopolies," Walker further complained, which is the actual definition of a patent. Google has subsequently acquired 1,000 IBM patents, ostensibly with the goal of earning the right to block someone else from innovating.



Google's description of Apple and Microsoft as patent-wielding co-conspirators against Android is remarkable given that Apple itself has become the most popular target of patent trolls while Microsoft has paid out vast million dollar settlements to license patented concepts related to the products it makes.



Unlike Apple, Google has not waged patent defenses in the smartphone arena itself, neither in paying millions to license patented IP for its platform (as Apple recently did with Nokia), nor in directly working to overturn the validity of dubious patent claims (as Apple has repeatedly sought to do, often successfully).



Patents could thwart Google's copying right and left



On the other hand, Google has routinely dodged the issues of intellectual property, initially founding its business upon the infringement of the patented technology of rival Overture (which it eventually paid off through an all-stock settlement with Yahoo after that company's acquisition of Overture).



The search giant subsequently acquired Android, a licensee of Oracle's Java platform, and made enough changes to the mobile platform to claim no need to any longer pay Oracle's licensing fees.



It then backed out of its close partnership with Apple to position Android as an iPhone alternative, while making conflicting comments about whether Android infringed upon Apple's iPhone patents, including multitouch interface gestures that were initially left out, then later folded into the Android platform wholesale.



Android licensees, many of whom were also Windows Mobile licensees, have individually reached licensing deals with Microsoft that cover patents that company owns in the smartphone space, resulting in more external operating expense than Google originally represented for its ostensibly free Android platform.



Google's efforts to closely duplicate the business of, for example, Facebook and Twitter in social networking and OpenX in display advertising indicate that Google's definition of "innovation" is often just an attempt to copy others, an effort that has similarly been promoted by its Android licensees, prompting lawsuits such as Apple's against Samsung that claim "slavish" efforts to steal everything from the box design to the design of the hardware and software elements.



Android also facing other assaults



Drummond further complained that "our competitors want to impose a 'tax' for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers," while also suggesting that the government would likely intervene on its behalf, while also suggesting that the purported overpayment of patents beyond their actual value would eventually result in a bursting of the "patent bubble."



If the patent problem doesn't solve itself, "consumers could face rising costs for Android devices ? and fewer choices for their next phone," Drummond warned.



While Android faces new costs related to patent infringement, it has also proven unable to generate profits compatible to Apple's iPhone business for its own licensees.



Despite being nearly free to implement, primary Android licensees ranging from LG to Motorola to Sony Ericsson have failed to make substantial money on the platform, with all three posting losses in the last quarter.



Samsung and HTC, while selling about as many phones combined as Apple in the last quarter, still failed to generate more than a small fraction of Apple's profits, despite their heavy borrowing from Apple's research and development and marketing to sell their own products.





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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 124
    astra4astra4 Posts: 46member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The complaint, entitled "When patents attack Android," accuses Apple and Microsoft of "banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents to make sure Google didn’t get them."



    you mean Nortels patents? I think Google is just trying to profit from the new antitrust review announced by officials because of the joint acquisition of these patents by a group of bidders. Probably they also send this complaint to the authority in charge of that review.
  • Reply 2 of 124
    Right. Because Google is the underdog, a victim of conspiracies against them.

    That's what happens when you believe your own hype about not being evil
  • Reply 3 of 124
    First uh third



    I have to agree with google on this. I when you don't focus on who won and who lost and you think about what they plan to use the patents for then the story changes. Google spends more energy on developing technology then protecting their parents they are in the technology business not the legal business. Had google won it would have used the patents to defend from legal issues. However the winning group is almost certain to use the patents to place an expensive licensing fee on android to raise prices and make their OSs more favored with developers. Basically they are squeezing out the competition using pathetic methods. If they impose an outrageous license fee it will like htc said they cannot compete in the market so they chose to take it to court.
  • Reply 4 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post


    First uh third



    I have to agree with google on this. I when you don't focus on who won and who lost and you think about what they plan to use the patents for then the story changes. Google spends more energy on developing technology then protecting their parents they are in the technology business not the legal business. Had google won it would have used the patents to defend from legal issues. However the winning group is almost certain to use the patents to place an expensive licensing fee on android to raise prices and make their OSs more favored with developers. Basically they are squeezing out the competition using pathetic methods. If they impose an outrageous license fee it will like htc said they cannot compete in the market so they chose to take it to court.



    While the words may have plenty to agree with, you'd have to really be kidding yourself if you believed that, if Google had won, they would've opened the patents up for everyone to use.
  • Reply 5 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    While the words may have plenty to agree with, you'd have to really be kidding yourself if you believed that, if Google had won, they would've opened the patents up for everyone to use.



    I never said they would have, but they are far less likely to abuse it and more likely to be ridiculously cheap with licenses.
  • Reply 6 of 124
    zaim2zaim2 Posts: 45member
    Say what you will about Google, but they have a history of lobbying against patents.



    http://thepriorart.typepad.com/the_p...very-spat.html
  • Reply 7 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post


    I never said they would have, but they are far less likely to abuse it and more likely to be ridiculously cheap with licenses.



    Other than your personal perception, what makes you think they are less likely? I happen to think Apple is less likely, that doesn't make it true.
  • Reply 8 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by astra4 View Post


    you mean Nortels patents? I think Google is just trying to profit from the new antitrust review announced by officials because of the joint acquisition of these patents by a group of bidders. Probably they also send this complaint to the authority in charge of that review.



    Google is just trying to sway the opinion of the authorities involved in the investigation of Google's own antitrust behavior. They are trying to score big in the court of public opinion. This smartass thinking will bacfire.
  • Reply 9 of 124
    tt92618tt92618 Posts: 444member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post


    Google spends more energy on developing technology then protecting their parents they are in the technology business not the legal business.



    More realistically, Google is in the business of commoditizing you and me. They don't care about patents on many of their technologies because they don't make money from them. But if Apple tomorrow introduced something that infringed one of the few patents they hold that are core to their business, they would be in court about it just as Apple is.
  • Reply 10 of 124
    tt92618tt92618 Posts: 444member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zaim2 View Post


    Say what you will about Google, but they have a history of lobbying against patents.



    http://thepriorart.typepad.com/the_p...very-spat.html



    It's easier to steal everyone else's ideas without patents.
  • Reply 11 of 124
    8002580025 Posts: 172member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Google's chief legal officer has posted a public blog entry complaining that Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and others are waging an "organized campaign" against its Android operating system "waged through bogus patents."



    The complaint, entitled "When patents attack Android," accuses Apple and Microsoft of "banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents to make sure Google didn’t get them."









    Ah Google, Linda Ronstadt said it best: "Poor poor pitiful me. Oh these boys won't let me be. Lord have mercy on me. Woe woe is me".
  • Reply 12 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    Other than your personal perception, what makes you think they are less likely? I happen to think Apple is less likely, that doesn't make it true.



    It's based on past history google is not known for being acbully when it comes to patents. Apple sues alot, but microsoft has already shown what they will play the license game against android oem makers they ask from between 5-15$ a unit. Microsoft currently makes more money off of android then they do ofor windows phone 7.
  • Reply 13 of 124
    willywilly Posts: 2member
    None of this defensive patent buying would have happened, if Google had not stolen Apple's (patented) multi-touch user interface to begin with. Before the iPhone, Android phones looked like the Palm Treos and Blackberries with full keyboards. No one had conceived of a touch interface like iOS until Apple.



    If Android had invented their own unique touch interface, none of these patent disputes would have arisen. Granted, it would have been hard to come up with a truly original touch interface, as iOS's scroll, pinch, slide gestures seem so intuitive. But that's Apple's genius--and intellectual property. Just because it seems so obvious now, doesn't mean it's not patentable. For example, Apple has to license "One-click" purchasing from Amazon.
  • Reply 14 of 124
    jmmxjmmx Posts: 341member
    gee officah - i didn't do nut-in!! Really!!





  • Reply 15 of 124
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    well, pinch to zoom was right here and patented.



    http://www.engadget.com/2008/05/30/t...jobs-inventor/



    if they don't like playing by the patent office rules, they should go invent their own shit.
  • Reply 16 of 124
    Quote:

    Samsung and HTC, while selling about as many phones combined as Apple in the last quarter, still failed to generate more than a small fraction of Apple's profits, despite their heavy borrowing from Apple's research and development and marketing to sell their own products.



    OH PLEASE







    Apple isn't an R&D driven company, the reason they generate much more profit is because they are the ones "borrowing" from other's research and development, look at iOS 5.



    Google is good at developing good technology, but failed miserably to protect their IP. Apple won at patents, they're playing the broken system to win while Google had its head up its a** innovating.



    Google may be right but it doesn't matter, the law isn't on their side, Apple army of lawyers will find every way to piggy back on their success. Another win for MS/Apple duo.
  • Reply 17 of 124
    dcorbandcorban Posts: 58member
    Google bid $4 billion, so clearly they believe that these patents were worth something. It's kind of odd to see them now saying that the patents are going for more than they are worth.



    Four billion dollars.



    It's also odd to see them bring up the fact that "Android is free" as a defence against the licensing fee. Imagine that I get my hands on the Coke recipe, make it in my basement, and give it away to dozens of companies who then turn around and sell it for a profit.
  • Reply 18 of 124
    bregaladbregalad Posts: 816member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post


    First uh third



    I have to agree with google on this. I when you don't focus on who won and who lost and you think about what they plan to use the patents for then the story changes. Google spends more energy on developing technology then protecting their parents they are in the technology business not the legal business. Had google won it would have used the patents to defend from legal issues. However the winning group is almost certain to use the patents to place an expensive licensing fee on android to raise prices and make their OSs more favored with developers. Basically they are squeezing out the competition using pathetic methods. If they impose an outrageous license fee it will like htc said they cannot compete in the market so they chose to take it to court.



    Opening up the industry to wholesale copying does more to stifle innovation than patents do. There is no incentive to spend millions doing R&D when you can simply wait for someone else to do it for you. The resulting cost cutting race to the bottom does nothing to advance the industry.
  • Reply 19 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Willy View Post


    None of this defensive patent buying would have happened, if Google had not stolen Apple's (patented) multi-touch user interface to begin with. Before the iPhone, Android phones looked like the Palm Treos and Blackberries with full keyboards. No one had conceived of a touch interface like iOS until Apple.



    If Android had invented their own unique touch interface, none of these patent disputes would have arisen. Granted, it would have been hard to come up with a truly original touch interface, as iOS's scroll, pinch, slide gestures seem so intuitive. But that's Apple's genius--and intellectual property. Just because it seems so obvious now, doesn't mean it's not patentable. For example, Apple has to license "One-click" purchasing from Amazon.



    Google did not copy iOS. The iphone was great phone but almost noting in it at release was new technology. Most of it was refined but little was new. Apple is infamous for taking other ideas and just improving them and taking credit for being the first with it.
  • Reply 20 of 124
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Google's chief legal officer has posted a public blog entry complaining ...



    Unbridled hypocrisy ...



    ... Walker further complained,...



    Google has subsequently acquired 1,000 IBM patents, ostensibly with the goal of earning the right to block someone else from innovating...



    Google's description of Apple and Microsoft as patent-wielding co-conspirators against Android is remarkable ...



    ... Google's copying right and left



    On the other hand, Google has routinely dodged the issue...



    ... founding its business upon the infringement of the patented technology o...



    It then backed out of its close partnership ... while making conflicting comments ...



    ...Google originally represented for its ostensibly free Android platform.



    Google's efforts to closely duplicate the business of, for example, Facebook and Twitter ...



    ... Google's definition of "innovation" is often just an attempt to copy others, ...



    ...Drummond further complained ...








    I think that this piece should have been clearly labeled as an editorial piece, as it does not seem to be balanced in the manner expected of responsible journalism.



    That being said, the rage of the author came screaming through in pretty much every paragraph. Sheesh. Does Google keep him up at night? Does he toss and turn, muttering under his breath about Google and breaking into a cold sweat?



    Entertainment? Maybe. Editorial opinions? Probably. Responsible journalism? No way.



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