Google prepares for multi-billion dollar patent arms race with Apple, Oracle, Microsoft

Information is power

Google prepares for multi-billion dollar patent arms race with Apple, Oracle, Microsoft
As we discussed recently with Andrew Van Luchene, who says he has the largest number of social gaming patents, patents are an important part of the corporate powerplay.

Still, while Van Luchene argues patents don't have to be confrontational, Google's chief legal officer David Drummond begs to differ.

He's just posted an article on the Google blog entitled 'When patents attack Android'.

It addresses what Drummond says is a "hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents".

Raising the ante

Pointing to recent collaborations to acquire Novell and Nortel's valuable patent libraries, he claims companies who want to stop Android are now demanding large licensing payments; as much as $15 per device from OEMs using Android. It's rumoured Microsoft's deal with HTC already gains it $5 for every Android device sold.

Apple and Nokia recently agreed a deal which sees Apple pay Nokia around $1 billion for access to its patents. Obviously Nokia also sits firmly in the Microsoft camp with respect to their strategic partnership over Windows Phone.

Set the robot free

"Our competitors want to impose a "tax" for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation," Drummond says.

He says he hopes that the US Department of Justice will step in to ensure that patents can be licensed on fair terms, but that Google will be looking to strengthen its own patent portfolio as well.

However, Microsoft head of communications Frank Shaw has replied via Twitter, with an image of an email conversation that suggests it was Google which declined to be involved in a joint bid for the Novell patents. 

Looks like technology lawyers will be busy for years to come.

[source: Google blog]
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.