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Google Accuses Competitors of Abusing Patents Against Android 294

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the the-plot-thickens dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Bloomberg reports that Google has accused Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle of waging a 'hostile, organized campaign' against Android by purchasing patents to keep them out of Google's hands and to make it more expensive for handset makers to use Android. 'We thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we're determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it,' writes David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer. Android's success has resulted in a 'hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.'" Microsoft has responded, saying they offered to bid jointly with Google on the Nortel patents, but Google refused. Some think Google is being hypocritical with their stance on patents changing now that Android appears to infringe on a bunch.
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Google Accuses Competitors of Abusing Patents Against Android

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  • Seriously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zget (2395308) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:48AM (#36984376)
    So Microsoft, Apple and Oracle wanted Google to join them and jointly bid with them, allowing access to the patents for everyone. Google didn't join, and lost the bidding when they tried to get it all for themselves. Who is the real hostile company here?
    • Re:Seriously (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Baloroth (2370816) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:26AM (#36984802)
      Others have pointed out that there may be something more involved, but I haven't seen anyone point out what I think is the real issue. And that is, AFAIK, most companies aren't suing Google directly. They are suing the third-party makers of Android phones. If Google had joined in the bid, they wouldn't have sole rights to the patents, and, depending on the terms, might well not have been able to license them to the actual phone makers, whom the other three would still have been able to sue. So Google would have been able to make Android smartphones, but no one else would have been able to. Google doesn't really care to make phones themselves, the whole point of Android is that third-parties make all the actual phones. That may well not have been able to happen had they joined the cartel.
      • Re:Seriously (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pesc (147035) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @09:39AM (#36985568)

        The same is true for Microsoft. So why did they join the cartel?

        Do you think MS is able to re-license the patents to Nokia? If they can, why couldn't Google?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Of course that's the case. However, that's not Microsoft, Apple, or Oracle's fault. Google decided it would try to turn this market sideways by giving away the key assets of the other players in the market in an attempt to prevent those companies from coming after its profitable businesses. You could call Google's entrance into the market cynical on that point alone. Why should their competitors sit back and watch if they find a flaw in Google's strategy?

        I guess I differ from most slashdotters on this t

    • by ilguido (1704434)
      Google released Android for free: if Google had joined M$, Apple and Oracle, it would extort money from all the companies that use android (like M$ does), thus negating its own declared purpose.
    • Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle are already suing Google, and or Manufacturers using Android. Joining a consortium with those same companies won't help Google in it's struggle to defend itself against legal threats from the very companies whom they would be partnering with.

      None of the Nortel patents would have done Google any good as a defensive weapon against Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle if they too were part owners in the patents. I wouldn't have put a dime into them.

      • None of the Nortel patents would have done Google any good as a defensive weapon against Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle if they too were part owners in the patents. I wouldn't have put a dime into them.

        Sure it would've, it would have defended them against these patents.

    • by C_Kode (102755)

      So Microsoft, Apple and Oracle wanted Google to join them and jointly bid with them, allowing access to the patents for everyone. Google didn't join, and lost the bidding when they tried to get it all for themselves. Who is the real hostile company here?

      That isn't what happen. MS wanted to bid with Google on the Nortel patents which Google obtained. MS, Apple and Oracle bought a *different* patent portfolio as a group to use against Android.

    • Google wanted to purchase the patents as a defensive measure to forestall litigation. So, joining with Microsoft and Apple to buy them would defeat the purpose -- since they are the two principal companies Google would like to defend against.
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      The ramifications of this seem larger. My first thought is, if they have a pool of patents, then no-one has any advantage over the others and the one with more "outsider" patents will still lead the parade.

      Google wants to buy patents so they can trade the use of such patents. Agreeing to pay altogether with a pool of companies, means Google has no advantage whatsoever and "patent-all" companies like Apple or MS will still have that advantage that will cause Google to owe them money.

      So, If I were Goog
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Locutus (9039)
      Google already knows and is being attacked by patents already held by those companies and wanted the Nortel patents as protection against these thugs, joining them does the same thing as losing the bid. oh, but it costs them no money.

      Microsoft's public statement about asking Google to join them was 100% PR. Remember, Microsoft had been caught assigning no less than 12 employees to one guy writing an article on a Microsoft product and even handed out coaching instructions analysed by psychologists to direct
      • Re:Seriously (Score:5, Informative)

        by E-Rock (84950) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @11:07AM (#36986808) Homepage

        Seriously? The general counsel of the company shows you the e-mail he sent to Google inviting them to bid and you want to deny it with a wave of your hand? When they only showed it after Google tried to claim they got screwed when they bid alone?

        The whole point of buying the patents was to prevent them from being used against them. They offered for Google to join in and lower the cost for everyone. Google said no and now wants to complain about how unfair it is for them.

        Google is wrong here. It happens. We can't lose the ability to critically evaluate Google's actions because we want them to be good.

    • by bonch (38532) * on Thursday August 04, 2011 @12:04PM (#36987578)

      Google is a very hostile company, but people are so used to viewing them as the benevolent Linux-using company that they don't see it. Google's hostility comes from their use of search monopoly profits to prop up their products in other markets and destroy other businesses. Once upon a time, Microsoft was regularly trashed on Slashdot for using monopoly profits to destroy other businesses--the biggest sin being giving away Internet Explorer for free to dismantle companies that had no choice but to charge for their browsers. This is exactly what Google does with Android and with any of the services it prominently displays at the top of its search results page. Remember that Google once responded to antitrust concerns by stating that its search results page was entirely algorithmically objective, but that has since been disproved [businessinsider.com]--certain hard-coded search terms will display Google's services at the top of the results page, above more popular services.

      Google's biggest problem is that they started out with a perception of being the good guys based on an irreverent self-awareness ("Don't be evil"), which has let to an inaccurate sense of self, just like when Microsoft started out believing they were the upstarts overthrowing IBM. Google thinks that it's not a big deal if they withhold Android source or snoop data from neighborhood wifi networks or use monopoly profits to buyout or drive away competitors in other markets. They think they're still some kind of friendly engineers' playground with a sense of humor. It's as if they're not aware that they're a for-profit megacorp whose business relies on selling people's personal data and that their poor behavior has major consequences. They seem to believe that by talking about openness all the time, it somehow negates hypocrisies like bundling of Flash in Chrome or signing non-neutral Internet deals with phone carriers just to prop up Android.

      Google still has the support of many techies, and they maintain that appeal by pretending to be an open source company. But if Google is all about open source, where is the source code for their core business, the search engine and advertising platform? Where are the algorithms for users to poke at? Google's data-indexing is as closed source and proprietary as Windows. If open source is about providing freedom for users to obtain the source of the software they use daily, where is the outcry over the fact that Google has taken over most of the internet with a closed-source product?

      It seems like the last couple of years have really exposed a bad upper-management element within the company. Google is trying to destroy or buy out as many competitors in as many markets as it can, just like Microsoft did when they had a monopoly, and just like practically every other company does when they have a monopoly. The monopoly profits are used to flood new markets with low-priced or free products, often bundled, that existing competitors are incapable of competing with because they must charge for their products. Again, Microsoft received so much shit for that behavior, year after year, and it seems that few have noticed that Google is doing the exact same thing. It doesn't matter if their product is based on Linux. That doesn't make it right. If you respond by saying that competitors should just come up with a better product in order to compete, that's exactly what Microsoft and its supporters said in the days of their antitrust investigation.

      What happened to the Google that just had a cool search engine? Why is it taking advantage of search monopoly profits to either buy out or crush every competitor in every non-core market? Why do they talk about openness when their core business is based on a search and advertising engine that is not open source?

  • It was an auction, and you got outbid. If Nortel wasn't a dying (dead) company, you would have still had to license / work around any of these patents, so what's the difference?

    • by iserlohn (49556)

      It looks like Google made a principled stance. Looking at their bidding history (Pi???) it seems to have been their strategy all along.

      • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:08AM (#36984592) Journal

        Well, they can take their principled stance and use pi * $1B on lobbyists to get Congress to actually reform the patent system. Thanks to that wonderful supreme court decision that allows corporations to spend just as much money as they want on political free speech, Google could put it out there that any congress critter that is serious about reforming the USPTO gets $10M in the war chest in the form of 509(c) sponsored direct mail flyers, online advertisement, television advertisement, etc.

        218 seats in the US house = $2.18B
        60 seats in the US Senate = $600M (gotta get that cloture motion, after all)

        We're not even to pi * $1B yet...

        • by macshit (157376)

          Well, they can take their principled stance and use pi * $1B on lobbyists to get Congress to actually reform the patent system.

          Of course if they did that, Apple, MS, Oracle, and other patent-abusers, would royally freak out and start throwing money in the opposite direction, trying to keep the patent system in it's current broken state. There'd end up being an awful lot of rich congressmen, but I'm not sure much else would change...

        • To be fair.. they just have to offer that to the first 110 reps, and 51 senators that will claim it. Wow.. I just saved them $1.4B, I should ask for a bonus, or better yet, patent that business method!
          method of contributing to a number of 509(c) sponsored entities in a way to maximize the opportunity cost of said contribution

          • 110 seats in the house wouldn't get you there. You need 218 to get to 50% + 1 vote in a 435-seat body.

            Of course, depending on the views of the Oval Office, you may need to get 288 in the House and 67 in the Senate to override a veto. We'll call the total price tag of patent reform $3.55B in this scenario.

        • by telekon (185072)

          Hopefully, Google will jump on the boat with the folks at The Economist [economist.com] who argue that the U.S. patent system as it stands should be abolished.

          But I'm not holding my breath.

      • Bidding with famous mathematical constants is a principled stance of what?

        Of being against patents?
        Of being nerdy?
        Of trying to make a big fuss about losing the bid?

    • Perhaps due to the threat level of the companies history, Nortel as far as I know wasn't known for looking for any and every possible way any of their hundreds of patents could have a chance in court of lining up with something their competitors had. Apple and Microsoft on the other hand, are going to look at every way they can possibly use these patents to find one that overlaps, and then get the best judge they can to sink android into the ground.
      • Not disagreeing, but looking at the fate of Nortel purely from a hypothetical shareholder perspective, maybe they should have...

    • by Skapare (16644)

      The difference is that Nortel would likely not be seeing the Android as competition that needs to be stopped, and would negotiate a license on a reasonable and fair basis. At least some of the others are highly suspect at wanting to do so, either because the end product represents competition, or represents a furtherance of certain technology ideas they dislike (e.g. that source is open).

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Here is the issue. Software patents shouldn't exist and don't in some nations. Patents are being used like nuclear weapons these days. Companies are getting them so that they don't get sued. They are also using them to limit competition and lock others out of the marketplace.
      Good luck if you want to start a software company in anything but a small vertical market these days. Some companies like IBM tended to use patents just defense. They rarely went after people with them. Apple and Microsoft have decided

  • by Trepidity (597) <(gro.hsikcah) (ta) (todhsals-muiriled)> on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:55AM (#36984440)

    I appreciate the need to spice things up with novel plotlines, but in this kind of scenario you really want clear sides, so that spectators can rally around their favorite team. It's okay if it's subject, so some people pick the "Apple good!" side and others then "Google good!" side. But you've still got to keep the lines reasonable or it's not really conductive to building a fanbase.

    Also, someone should print up some shirts that read, "No war but the patent war!"

  • by Yaddoshi (997885) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:55AM (#36984442)
    Reform of...a bucket of water! Shape of...a patent troll slaying sword! Sorry...lack of coffee does strange things to my mind this early in the day.
  • by vadim_t (324782) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:55AM (#36984446) Homepage

    That being, stopping wasting their money on buying patents, and using their considerable amount of cash to push the elimination of software patents. Just imagine the amount of money and bullshit that would get saved long term.

    • That being, stopping wasting their money on buying patents, and using their considerable amount of cash to push the elimination of software patents.

      Best post ever!

    • Exactly. And quite honestly Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and the rest of them should join in too. Heck, when you look at it what all the software companies say about software patents is they only patent it so other people can't use it against them and sue.

      Patents have fast become obsolete. The original purpose of increasing knowledge has long since been accomplished.
    • That being, stopping wasting their money on buying patents, and using their considerable amount of cash to push the elimination of software patents. Just imagine the amount of money and bullshit that would get saved long term.

      Problem being, doing so would effectively mean outspending the combined lobbyist spending ability of every US company in existence that has a vested interest in keeping software patents just the way they are. Or in other words, they would need to be able to outlobby at least Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle (and many others), all of which are benefiting (or trying to benefit) from software patents, and would most likely respond by sending their own lobbyists to stop Google's, if not outright pooling their reso

    • by Locutus (9039)
      Because we know that changing the laws happens much faster than court cases are completed. WTF?

      And what makes you think that the famed Microsoft 'Men in Black' and the other lobbyist funded by Apple and Oracle won't counter a Google push to change the patent laws to fight off the ongoing court cases against Google or its customers and filed by these companies?

      it would be better to fight both battles at the same time.

      LoB
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:57AM (#36984462)

    Microsoft has responded, saying they offered to bid jointly with Google on the Nortel patents, but Google refused.

    Hey Microsoft, could you please throw some light as to how Google's joint purchase of these patents with you would help Google fend off patent lawsuits from the likes of yourself, Apple and the rest?

    Google wanted these patents for defensive purposes [blogspot.com]. Therefore Google's teaming up with folks like Apple and Microsoft, who would like to see Android fail would be plain stupid in my opinion.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nedlohs (1335013)

      because if they owned the damn things they can't be sued for violating them.

      Surely that is simply fucking obvious.

      • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:44AM (#36984976)

        Aquiring these patents with Apple, M$ and the like would not prevent Google from being sued for 'infringing' on *other* patents by these very companies, (emphasis mine). Owning these patents exclusively would potentially deter any company from suing. What's so hard to understand about this?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The concern that the consortium of companies had was a patent troll getting their hands on the patents and suing _everyone_ in the tech industry, so they decided to work together so everyone would benefit. When Google declined to join, that (rightly) sent up a red flag and suggested that Google would use the patents against the companies in the consortium so they were forced to follow Google's lead and up their bids. Had Google joined the consortium, the patents would have stayed out of the hands of a paten

      • by jkflying (2190798)

        Yeah, but Samsung, Motorola and HTC don't own them.

  • Ulterior Motives? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grave (8234) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .88treblawa.> on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:57AM (#36984474)

    I really don't think a company with as many bright people as Google would be stumbling about like this when the issue could cause Android to either be shut down or force Google into very expensive licensing. More likely, they are making this look as ridiculous as possible in order to try to garner enough support for eliminating software patents, or at least substantial patent reform.

    Then again, maybe they really did just have a case of the stupids.

  • I know there is a huge bunch of people who are on the stance Patents are Evil and should be removed... I don't think so... However they need a major work over. A lot of these patents are obvious, and need to be flagged as such, we need to find more reasons to reject patents then let them pass. The ones that do pass should be the golden software, which are not obvious to even experience developers. But a lot of these patents developers can easily infringe on not because they are copping but because a sit

    • by Skapare (16644)

      You seem to be thinking along the lines I am at about the same time (my post just a couple posts down at the top level). So I guess this idea for reforming the patent system is not innovative :-)

      Whenever there is a problem where at least a couple good programmers (or teams), working independently arrive reasonably quickly (within a month or so) at the same solution, then it is definitely not something that we need a patent system to encourage (because it is obvious enough that this invention would happen a

    • And why should software be patented at all? Do you think textbooks should be patented? How about mathematical formulas?

  • I might be more believing of Google's current position if they were to also be campaigning for a major overhaul of the patent system.

    Such a major overhaul needs to first recognize that any issuance of a patent "takes away the rights of others to independently invent and innovate" where "this taking is justified only where it creates an incentive to innovate where none would otherwise exist". It also needs to establish new, stronger, standards to evaluate whether an application represents genuine innovation

    • by hedwards (940851)

      The issue isn't patents, the issue is that the money to fund the USPTO comes largely from fees that they levy on applications. And as such there's a conflict of interest that comes when they need to say no because a patent application isn't valid. It's something you see in other things like unemployment insurance where the staff of the department behaves like it's working for the employers because that's who is paying their paycheck ultimately, not the applicant for benefits.

      It's even worse with the USPTO b

  • Not hypocritical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:18AM (#36984720) Homepage Journal

    I fail to see any hypocrisy and I re-read Gruber's blog post multiple times trying to follow his twisty logic.

    It appears to me that Google, like many, many software engineers in the US but unlike many software companies in the US, doesn't see patents as particularly useful or valuable to the industry. Google seems to think that software patents inhibit innovation, not help it, and wishes that software patents didn't exist.

    Does that mean that Google shouldn't buy patents or apply for patents? Of course not, because software patents do exist and it's suicide for a big software company to try to get along without them.

    See, everyone who has been paying attention understands that 99.9% of software patents are utter crap. They don't represent real innovation, because they're simply obvious to anyone who happens to be working on the relevant problem. But actually going through the process of invalidating them, either by identifying the prior art or finding some way to demonstrate that they're obvious, is horribly time-consuming and expensive. And it's ultimately almost pointless because there are so many more patents out there which can be asserted once you've knocked down the first batch.

    No, the way you defend yourself against bogus patent claims (or even the occasional arguably-valid claim) is by having plenty of patents so that you can countersue with a whole bunch of your own bogus patent claims. Then you and your attacker can negotiate a cross-licensing agreement. In practice, once you've got a sufficiently large pile of patents a form of detente sets in, where you and your commercial competitors don't bother to sue one another over patents because there's no point. No one would win but the lawyers anyway, and everyone knows it.

    Google was perhaps a little slow to understand this patent landscape. More accurately, most of what Google did for years was harder to attack with patents so it wasn't so relevant and so Google didn't really bother. But Google is in the thick of it now, and fully understands the nature of the situation.

    So, I don't see any hypocrisy. I think Google thinks software patents suck and should go away, but given that they're here Google is forced to play the game. But Google doesn't like the game, sees it as dirty pool and has decided to at least call its opponents on their dirty (if lamentably legal) tactics.

    (Disclaimer: I'm a Google software engineer, but haven't been one for long and don't know anything about Google's patent strategy other than what I read in the press.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NatasRevol (731260)

      So explain why it's ok that Google was willing to pay $3B to buy the patents alone and protect themselves, but not willing to go in with all the other major mobile OS mfgrs to assure mutual protection.

      Because that's really the point where people are telling Google to shut their whiny pie-holes.

      • by MooseMuffin (799896) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:47AM (#36985000)
        Like the GP said, the point of owning patents in this industry is to represent the threat of a countersuit to prevent your competitors from suing you in the first place. That doesn't work in this scenario because you can't countersue Microsoft and Apple if the only patents you own are jointly owned by them too.
      • by Locutus (9039)
        OMG, insightful? Come on people, it's not that difficult to understand this. Patents are the weapon being used to attack Google and Google doesn't have much of it. You do not fight off those attacking you if you agree to share a weapons cache with them. It's not that difficult.

        LoB
    • But Google doesn't like the game, sees it as dirty pool and has decided to at least call its opponents on their dirty (if lamentably legal) tactics.

      But is it legal? if all of their competitors are getting together and using them to try to get rid of competition from google, isn't that what the anti-trust/monopoly laws were meant to stop?

    • If you want to explain the software patent issue to someone else here is a good story on em. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/08/02/138934689/the-tuesday-podcast-the-patent-war [npr.org]
    • I like Gruber's information and his podcast, but he takes way too many shots at Google and not enough at other companies. But it is true that there is hypocrisy in Google's statements. If what Microsoft is saying is true, Google was offered to go in with Apple, Microsoft, et al. to buy the patents and said no. Then Google bid themselves bid on those parents. They were outbid by the group that they were offered to join! Had they done so originally, they would have ownership of these patents and there wo

  • Bogus Patents ?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CSHARP123 (904951)
    Android's success has resulted in a 'hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.'"

    Patents are granted to these companies. When did it become bogus? If Google thinks this is bogus. They need to fight and get the patents invalidated. It is not as if Google is a small company and cannot fight. Google may have purposefully violated patents from other companies and hence they do not protect the OEMs who are implementing Android. If

    • When did it become bogus?

      The moment math was allowed to be patented.

      If Google thinks this is bogus. They need to fight and get the patents invalidated.

      That is a losing strategy, as the USPTO issues bad patents like Proctor & Gamble issues toilet paper (both of which serve the same purpose). Imagine if you had to spend millions of dollars for each piece of toilet paper Proctor & Gamble produces. Does that seems like a good use of resources?

      The better use of resources is to get math patents abolished altogether.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:33AM (#36984860) Homepage

    The computer and software industry has been about rapid development and improvement. The 80s saw amazing development and growth. There were accusations of copying and all that, but the reality is that everyone copies everyone and always have. It's how we define progress. Forgetting that software is just path for a moment and let's just think of it in terms of development of a "thing."

    The industry has grown from nearly nothing (by comparison) to the single most dominating thing which has transformed the way the world does business, recreation and correspondence in less time than it takes for a patent to expire! In fact, many "technologies" have come and gone in that time.

    The fact is, "software" is a ware that has no cost of raw materials to manufacture. It's just bits and copying them costs nothing aside from the memory and storage devices used to contain them. Development only has the design phases and testing phases without the costs of prototyping and materials selection that you would see in a physical product. What I am saying is that software is a very fluid and rich environment and the translation from idea to product is very rapid. This makes patents unnecessary as an incentive to develop and build new things -- the need to do so is a matter of survival in this industry. And, of course, now we are seeing that patents on software is having the effect of stifling development and innovation as ideas can be patented without any cost involved with developing the idea at all.

    I know... more preaching to the choir here on slashdot so it's nearly useless. But on the off chance some senator or congressman or someone associated with them can find this on a search, then maybe it's good to write about it.

    Software patents are actually slowing down the US software industry. As golliaths sit on their massive pile of patents, they are increasingly using them to squash competition rather than developing new and innovative things as they should be. And since the rest of the world doesn't care about software patents, they are more free to continue their rapid development of technologies meaning the US is slowly being left behind.

    The current approach is to keep things as they are and to "defend them" politically and eventually physically. That approach is leaving the US with fewer and fewer friends...

  • Step 1- all patents are considered invalid until proven in court. If the USPTO can't be bothered to validate patents then let the courts handle the matter. Step 2- To get a software patent you must file (complete) source, including build environment. Having the full source for windows would level the playing field, and allow people to support old embedded applications. Step 3- All pending patents and submitted patents are on public display from the moment they are filed. Step 4- Massively reduced da
  • Simply ignore the software patents. And throw through the window the lawyer who trying to sue you. (+bonus if you're on the tenth floor or higher)
  • This is stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:48AM (#36985020) Journal

    If there is a time when the government should step in this is it. This whole patent war crap is not only anti-competitive for the companies involved, but it also kills off any chance of new companies innovating in the market. It's becomes a monopoly by patent portfolio enforcement.

    It's anti-competitive and should be squashed.

  • Google, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, who is playing fair and who isn't doesn't interest me. Software patents are the real issue here, they are misused and contribute to restrain innovation in the software world. I really wonder if I'll ever see the end to this nonsense before the end of my life. Google always gave me the impression they considered software patents as a nuisance, I hope they use some of their billions to lobby the politicians into abolishing it, since apparently it's the only way to make thing
  • Novell, not Nortel (Score:5, Informative)

    by uss_valiant (760602) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:57AM (#36985130) Homepage

    Reading comprehension fail or professional troll? MS said they invited Google to a joint bid for the Novell deal. That's not the $4.5 billion Nortel deal.

  • I'm a little ocnfused here. Nortel has bee na big company in the telecom buisiness and I'd assume that the majority of their patents are related in the field of Telecom Networks and Radio infrastructure.

    Why does eveybody assume the patents sold recently are related to Android? What did Nortel do so that it was a buisiness case for them to have a strong Android portfolio?

    I understand Apple wanting a piece of the cake, as they ship terminals and therefore could use radio technology for protection. But Google?

  • This is not just about one company attacking another with patents.

    Multiple companies colluding to attack a competitor may be a violation of antitrust legislation, whether their weapon is the patent system, or attack ads, or price fixing.

  • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @11:00AM (#36986732)

    Scene:
    Google turn up at the acutions, bidding in joke numbers as their bids.
    MS, Apple & Oracle knowing that individually they won't be able to beat google team up against them.
    Google stops bidding after pi, it's work there having been done
    The Axis of Evil win the patents
    Google now claim that the purchase of the patents for nearly 5 times their estimated value is purely for anti-competitive purposes which triggers the DOJ to investigate the deal and potentially invalidate all the patents, or force fair licencing or lead to a reform of the patent structure.

    Result:
    Google convinces it's competitors to spend 4.5 billion to reform the patent system to something a bit more sane.

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