The technology patent litigation game is ridiculous, says Google's general counsel, stifling innovation and encouraging bullying among rivals.
But if you can't beat them, join them. And that's exactly what Google did recently, acquiring more than 1,000 patents from IBM to pad its portfolio.
Patent infringement suits among technology company have become a standard mode of operation in the business, and the line is becoming so blurred over who really owns what that companies like Apple and many others are merely suing competitors left and right, claiming infringement at every turn.
Google, for instance, is having to defend against as many as 48 Android-related lawsuits for its mobile technology operating system. Other companies battling in infringement lawsuits include Oracle versus Google, Apple versus Samsung, Microsoft versus Motorola and Apple versus HTC. Each of the suits relates to mobile technology patent infringement accusations.
Google general counsel Kent Walker said patent purchases and their ultimate use as strength in the corporate technology war may be an unfortunate strategy, but that it's hard to navigate through the "mess" of ligitation.
"It's hard to find what's the best path -- there's so much litigation," said Walker, in an interview with Bloomberg. "We're exploring a variety of different things."
Google's acquisition of more than 1,000 patents from IBM was discovered and reported by the Web site SEO by the Sea. The move is seen as helping Google have more weaponry of owned patents in the increasingly contentious patent infringement litigation war among technology companies.
Among the patents Google purchased reportedly include one covering a "System and Method of Using Data Mining Prediction Methodology" and another "System and Method for Maintaining Up-to-Date Link Information in the Metadata Repository of a Search Engine."
Recently Google lost in an auction for Nortel's patents.
So while the company complains about the stifling environment technology they are facing with patent infringement lawsuits, Google is also moving to bolster its held patents, since the company is far behind Apple and other competitors in what it owns patent-wise.