Google hits out at ‘bogus patent’ campaign against Android

4 Aug 2011

Google’s senior vice-president and chief legal officer David Drummond has claimed Microsoft, Apple and Oracle are plotting to strangle Android’s growth through “bogus patents.”

Drummond posted a blog entry describing how he believed these companies have orchestrated a campaign against Android through acquiring old patents and suing Android manufacturers.

He highlighted how both Microsoft and Apple were part of groups to acquire Novell’s and Nortel’s old patents, claiming they did this “to make sure Google didn’t get them.” He said this was also driving up the cost of patents.  

He pointed out how Microsoft sought licensing fees for each Android device and referred to the recent smartphone lawsuits Apple filed against Android smartphone manufacturers Samsung and HTC.

“A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a ‘tax’ for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers,” said Drummond.

“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 said they’ve asked the US Department of Justice to check if Microsoft and Apple acquired the Novell and Nortel patents by anti-competitive means.

He also said Google will strengthen Android’s patents to reduce this litigation.

However, Microsoft’s head of PR Frank Shaw hit back on Twitter, saying Drummond should have checked with Google’s legal counsel Kent Walker before posting a blog entry and linked an image of an email from Walker to Microsoft.

The email suggests Google rejected an offer to team up with Microsoft to bid on patents.