The success of the Android OS has inspired “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents,” wrote David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal Officer, in a blog post.
Drummond listed the following instances of the alleged campaign against the Android.
- The acquisition of Novell patents by CPTN, a consortium that consisted of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and EMC
- The acquisition of Nortel Wireless patents by Rockstar Bidco, a consortium that consisted of Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Ericsson, EMC, and Sony
- The attempt of Microsoft to demand $15 per Android phone from Samsung for patent licensing
- The attempt of Apple and Microsoft to legally threaten other Android OS partners such as HTC, Motorola, and even Barnes & Noble
Drummond said these are all anti-competitive strategies intended to choke the Android OS, stifle innovation, and decrease competition in the smartphone market.
Opponents of Google, on the other hand, claim they’re simply protecting the intellectual property that they spent (a lot of) money to develop.
Generally speaking, patent law is about striking the balance between protecting patent holders enough to encourage investments in innovation and limiting them enough to allow room for other innovation.
In the Android’s case, the U.S. government already thinks Google has some merit. Currently, the Department of Justice is investigating whether the Rockstar Bidco consortium could use its Nortel patents to unfairly strangle the Android, reported the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources.