Google in Android patent rage

Rage Guy
By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - August 4, 2011.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has launched a blistering attack against the "anti-competitive" tactics of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). David Drummond, Google's Chief Legal Officer, is sounding more and more like 4chan's memeolicious Rage Guy. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers ponder transparency, openness, and innovation.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: George Costanza: A heartwarming tale of redemption...

Matt Hamblen reports:

Drummond bristled about moves by major firms to "band together" to acquire patents...citing a successful $4.5 billion bid by Microsoft, Apple and acquire 600 patents from Nortel.


Drummond noted that a smartphone is highly that could generate as many as 250,000 patent claims...that he said would likely be "largely questionable." ... [He said they] end up like a tax that makes Android device more expensive for consumers.   

    Paul Suarez adds:

David Drummond...accused the company’s rivals of using “bogus patents” to make Android phones more expensive.


Drummond says Google will attempt to strengthen its own patent portfolio. ... On Sunday, Google started that process by acquiring more than 1000 patents from IBM. ... Drummond says Android fans need not fret.   

Google's David Drummond tells us why we should care:

Android is on fire. More than 550,000 Android devices are activated every day. ... Android and other platforms are competing hard...yielding cool new devices and amazing mobile apps.


But Android’s success has [also] yielded...a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other[s]. ... They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group)...and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group) make sure Google didn’t get them.


Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it. ... Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means. ... We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced [CPTN] to license the...patents on fair terms.   

Preston Gralla parses greatly:

In schoolyard terms, [Drummond's words are] close to gentleness. Coming from a lawyer, it's more like a call to a knife fight.


However, Drummond certainly has a point. Microsoft has no doubt gamed the patent system. ... Still, Drummond is guilty of's merely standard operating practice...stockpiling patents and using them as weapons...but his essential point is right: Patents are being used to discourage...rather than...encourage innovation.


[O]ne more example of why the patent system needs reform.   

Jacqui Cheng thinks the time may be right for Google's call to arms:

Earlier this week, a number of iOS developers put out a call to band fight patent trolls...which have begun to go after [them] for patent infringement. [It] was also recently highlighted by NPR in..."When Patents Attack," bringing the US patent regular office watercoolers all week.   

But Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith feigns confusion:

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

Meanwhile, A.T. Faust III thinks Ill: [You're fired -Ed.]

[I]n true sore-loser fashion, Google is throwing a world-class tantrum [like a] screaming child. ...[T]his sort of altruistic outrage would seem to...preclude Google’s proved interest in acquiring these very same patents.


If Google were so interested in “free trade” and “fair play”...the refusal to join securing those rights and freedoms makes no sense. ... Google could’ve shared the very assets the company now claims should be available to all.


But come on, Google, you care as much about...cross-industry cooperation as any other big company.   

   And Finally...
Seinfeld: "The Human Fund" re-cut trailer
[hat tip: Mark X, who quips, "George Costanza becomes a hardened criminal, forever being hauled the cops. Until a spell in prison sees him vow to make a change, and...becomes a champion of good causes. A heartwarming tale of redemption."]

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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