When Patents Attack Android

Google Senior VP and Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond:

But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.

John Gruber:

They’re effectively arguing against the idea of the patent system itself, simply because Android violates a bunch of patents held by Google’s competitors. It’s not “patents” that are attacking Android. It’s competing companies whose patents Google has violated — and whose business Android undermines — who are attacking Android.

Gruber’s Google: Patently Absurd is a must read. Google bid US$3.14 billion for Nortel’s patents; Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and others outbid Google with $4.5 billion. Sore loser.

Update: Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith tweeted, via Business Insider:

Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.

Drummond looks like a liar, too.

Another update: Drummond fights back:

Microsoft’s objective has been to keep from Google and Android device-makers any patents that might be used to defend against their attacks. A joint acquisition of the Novell patents that gave all parties a license would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners. Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android — and having us pay for the privilege — must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn’t fall for it.

Another update: OK, this is getting interesting. Microsoft head of communications, Frank Shaw tweets in response, via TechCrunch:

Hello again David Drummond. This is going to take a few tweets, so here we go. Let’s look at what Google does not dispute in their reply.

We offered Google the opportunity to bid with us to buy the Novell patents; they said no.

Why? BECAUSE they wanted to buy something that they could use to assert against someone else.

SO partnering with others & reducing patent liability across industry is not something they wanted to help do

I’m fairly certain we haven’t seen the end of this.

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