Google Rails Against Anti-Android Patent Cabal
Google is the victim of “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.”
That’s the gist of a blustery and bitter blog post on the mobile IP wars penned by Google’s chief legal officer, Dave Drummond, who claims that a cabal of Google rivals is conspiring to hamstring Android’s growth by buying up some of the mobile industry’s most valuable IP. From the post:
They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.
A brazen takedown, particularly for Google, which to date has been reticent to call its rivals out in this way. Clearly, the company is taking a new tack here, framing the issue in its own way and, presumably, putting whatever lobbying and legal muscle it has into throwing out roadblocks. To wit, these few lines, also taken from Drummond’s post:
We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it’s looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means.
I bet you are. Particularly since you’re facing antitrust inquiries into your own core businesses. And in the end, that may be another purpose of this post: To show regulators that Google isn’t always the unstoppable juggernaut it is portrayed to be. Sometimes it’s the victim, or it would like to be viewed that way, especially by the FTC and the tough-talking judge presiding over its patent infringement showdown with Oracle.
One last point: If the patents to which Google refers are “bogus,” why bother decrying them at all? Or, for that matter, bidding $Pi billion dollars for them in the first place?