Google says success created “hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple”
August 3, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Google has mostly restricted its comments about Android-related patent suits. As HTC, Motorola, and Samsung came under attack for alleged patent violations, Google issued pedestrian statements like “We support our partners.”
For the first time, Google is addressing the issue head-on and calling out rivals for being “anti-competitive” rather than innovative. In a post on the official Google Blog, Chief Legal Officer David Drummond writes that the success of Android has created “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.”
Drummond’s comments follow Apple, Microsoft, and a few other companies forming consortiums to outbid Google for the Novell and Nortel patents. He alleges that Apple and Microsoft did this for the sole purpose of preventing Google from acquiring the intellectual property rights necessary for preventing rivals from going after Android manufacturers.
As we’ve covered in the past, patent fights are a dirty game that companies use to shutdown competition or force rivals to pay money for obscure or generically-described patents that can cover practically anything. While the patent system is designed to protect creators from having their innovations stolen, it has become “a weapon to stop [innovation],” according to Drummond.
The Department of Justice may look into the Novell/Nortel patent acquisitions because it sold for $4.5 billion – 4.5 times original estimates of worth – and may have been anti-competitive. Drummond reveals that Google lobbied the DOJ to force the new Novell IP owners to license the patents on “fair terms.” and investigate if Microsoft and Apple were anti-competitive by purchasing the patent library.
Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith calls shenanigans on Drummond’s post. However, Drummond has updated his blog post to counter the tweet below. Be sure to read the full post to see the explanation of why Google refused to bid jointly with Microsoft.
Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.