Microsoft, Oracle and Apple Using “Bogus” Patents?

Google Lawyer Warns of “a hostile, organized campaign against Android.”

David Drummond, Chief Legal Officer at Google, has posted a blog discussing rival companies' moves to acquire the Novell and Nortel patents. The CPTN group, which consists of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and EMC, moved together to acquire Novell's patents; while the "Rockstar" group, including Apple, Microsoft, RIM and Sony, acquired Nortel's patent portfolio for $4.5 billion. Google originally made a $900 million "stalking horse" bid for the Nortel patents.

Drummond sees this as a "a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents." He describes Android as being "on fire," and in his opinion its success has directly resulted in the groups' decisions to acquire the Nortel and Novell patents.

"Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it," he argues, but he is optimistic about the future: "We're not naive; technology is a tough and ever-changing industry and we work very hard to stay focused on our own business and make better products. But in this instance 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."

The Department of Justice are currently investigating whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents as part of an anti-competitive strategy. In the past, Google have called for patent reform, stating that the majority of patent lawsuits filed against them are the work of "patent trolls." However, according to Drummond's post, Google are now looking into strengthening their own patent portfolio to reduce the threats against the Android OS.

Jessica Thornsby

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