back to article Google claims 'bogus patent' conspiracy against Android

Google chief legal officer David Drummond has claimed that Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, and other companies have waged a "hostile, organized campaign" against Google's Android operating system using "bogus patents". "I have worked in the tech sector for over two decades. Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s …


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  1. MartinTurner

    Giving away other people's IP

    Google has been busy distorting the market in its own way — by giving away its operating system when others (Nokia/Windows, Apple, Blackberry) have to invest to develop theirs, they are handing a competitive advantage to anyone willing to buy into the Android programme. This, of course, is entirely within their rights — up to the point that they are giving away not only their own Intellectual Property, but other people's as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not necessarily within their rights

      They have enough market share to be deemed a monopoly in many jurisdictions. They are using profits from their monopoly in search to undercut others in other businesses. That's the sort of behaviour that can get a company in big trouble, even if they weren't trodding all over others IP rights.

    2. scarshapedstar

      Google isn't being sued by Apple/MS

      Funny, innit? Rather, they're suing each and every manufacturer of Android phones for having Android on them.

      Also, who does Apple charge for their OS? They make their own frickin' phones.

    3. Microphage

      Giving away the OS

      .. giving away its operating system when others .. Windows .. have to invest .. they [Google] are giving away not only their own Intellectual Property, but other people's as well.

      Excuse me, but I've read that bit a number of times and it makes even less sense than the first time.

    4. Charles Manning

      Giving away other people's IP?

      All the "other people's IP" that Google gives away has already been given away through GPL or whatever. If Google picks it up and packages it into Android then so what.

      Google actually invest quite a bit of time and money in improving many of these products.

      It would help if Google added their muscle to fighting silly patent claims though.

      #disclaimer: I wrote some of the software that Google gives away. I have no problems with that since it was already released under GPL.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    like a child

    Who lost their toy and is now complaining. Microsoft paid 60m to Lucent the other day for a 2005 case and how about the xml patent and the 300million? I thought xml was a open standard but anyway, don't know the specifics.

    Google were totally unprepared for android. I am not sure this guy will be making the same argument if other companies were at the receiving end. There is a simple solution, create some patents, trying to buy others' patents to cover your "bad hand" is not going to work cause you can be outbid. Unfortunately, this is the name of the game and since he works in the legal dept should know better. Until the name of the game changes they have play it. Pay some money and license the products, not everything in life is free.

    1. MarkieMark1
      Paris Hilton

      google's business model

      involves down-valuing hardware & software in favour of, basically connectivity; so it should be no real surprise when hardware & software manufacturers resist

      1. scarshapedstar


        Many Android handsets beat the iPhone in every way, except for the ZomgRetinaDisplay!!11 maybe. The crappy downmarket Android lobotomy-phones are just a small portion of the ecosystem and they're all end-of-life now anyway.

        Speaking of, if Android sucks so much, why are its competitors worried?

        1. Ian Davies

          No, really!

          > The crappy downmarket Android lobotomy-phones are just a small portion of the ecosystem and they're all end-of-life now anyway.

          There's a fairly large suspicion that this part of the ecosystem isn't small at all, and is *exactly* where Google are getting their "300,000 activations per day" stats from.

        2. hexx

          who is worried?

          and which android phones beat iPhone? and in what exactly? and don't come back with the BS mantra 'you can root it'

        3. Maliciously Crafted Packet

          Au contraire...

          the iPhone beats Android in every way except possibly with Google Maps. iPhone certainly wins when it comes to earnings delivered to its development community.

          That aside, with Androids reported 40% return rate maybe competitors shouldn't be as worried as they are.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            A high return rate on *certain* handsets is being alleged by John Biggs

            In other words, if the source is actually accurate, there may be one or two Android handsets that are either crap or being mis-sold. (eg one with no GPS being sold as a GPS)

            More likely, one employee of one shop has had quite a few Androids returned one week, and the blogger has turned a single shops' "Don't you think we had quite a few Androids returned this week?" into a bogus statistic.

            It's more informative trying to work out why exactly John Biggs wants to spin that so hard.

            On the other hand, he's just a blogger, so who cares?

            - If it was a genuine tip, then he'd be getting paid to write it rather than dropping it onto his blog.

          2. Slabfondler

            @MCP - Oh yeah...that in depth study...

            Here's the evidense for that cliam, right from your link: "However, on the ground, many return rates are approaching 40% said a person familiar with handset sales for multiple manufacturers." - and who is this person? Likely some PFY Apple Fanboi working at Carphone Warehouse!

          3. M Gale

            The iPhone beats Android in every way except possibly...





            Bluetooth file transfer.

            App sources.

            I could probably go on, but I can't be arsed. It's funny. Friend of mine gives me his iPhone while we're both trying to improve the score on a Cover Orange level or whatever. Nearly every time I get a "NETWORK ERROR [DISMISS]/[CANCEL]". Really fucking annoying when you're in the middle of a game. He tells me to "hold it properly". Hang on, what? You mean... hold it like a phone? Like I am doing? Oh no.. what he means is to hold it like a precious diamond. This is with a Pink Floyd-themed backing plate that covers that infamous antenna up as well.

            Yes, the iPhone beats AN ENTIRE ECOSYSTEM OF DEVICES in every way. Sure. And I'm the Queen of England. One is most definitely amused.

  3. Arctic fox

    Indeed "BigCorp" being "BigCorp".

    Yes one does not expect any better and no I am not impressed with Google playing "poor put upon little me". However, this whole situation has spiralled completely out of control.

    1. Patents have mutated from being something that protected your invention and the investment you put into it into an offensive weapon to be deployed to attack competitors.

    2. Patents have become a commodity in themselves attracting the attention of companies/speculators who have never invented anything nor made any form of product.

    3. Patents can be granted for vague ideas/concepts/generalisations which are only intended to plant as large an anti-competitive minefield in the market as possible with no intention of ever actually producing an example of what has been patented. This does not just apply to software patents, we have seen a number of patent applications recently for alleged hardware products that very clearly are the very definition of "vapourware".

    The whole business has gone so far that even companies who *might* have preferred to avoid this kind of poisonous nonsense are now forced to join in in self-defence. Unfortunately very little will be done until "BigCorp" has created such a polluted fuck-up in the market that *they* are beginning to take damage *and* the politicians begin to take notice. Shame really because by the time they finally admit that this is not smart, that they themselves are taking long term damage, the amount of collateral damage they will have done is going to be pretty extensive - and here we are talking major economic damage with ramifications way outside their own industry. Anybody listening up there on Capitol Hill or has BigCorp paid you too much to *not* wake up?

    1. Daniel 1

      Yes, you do have to wonder

      How far would MS DOS have got, in this sort of climate?

  4. Earl Jones Of Potatoes

    weak strategy

    hypocrisy couldn't be more obvious. why did google bid on nortel's patent if you think they are bogus ? and please, spare us the pathetic argument which goes ""instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation."

    an advertising empire cannot be trusted when it ventures into the tech field and pretends the game is unfair when it's not winning.

    Sorry google, i won't side with you on this one. You're using android weak strategy to gain sympathy.

    1. ThomH

      To be fair to them...

      ... you could ask why did they buy On2 if they think patents are bogus? The answer was: to put those patents under a perpetually free licence.

      That said, they'll get no sympathy from me either if they're trying to conjure up images of some sort of industry-wide conspiracy against them. It's nice to see someone from a big, trusted company going on the record about the lunacy of the US patent system though.

  5. Asgard

    What was once all about craftsmanship increasingly no longer is. :(

    "Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation."

    This is the part I find so deeply sickening.

    Business should be about what products are good becoming the market leader, not who has the most billions to buy the biggest army of lawyers and the biggest arsenal of patents to wage war against competitors.

    Engineering used to be about the craftsmanship of artisans, yet this story shows all too well how sickeningly far the business of engineering has become distorted from what was once all about the importance of good design.

    The patent system was intended to be a way to help inventors, yet in recent years its become so sickeningly distorted that it now prevents all but the absolute richest of corporations even being able to legally claim ownership of design ideas. So patents are not helping society or progress, it shows companies exploiting the broken patent system as a way to greatly undermine progress.

    It means ironically, society would now be better off without patents any longer. It would save everyone a lot of money.

    But of course companies with patents will argue till their final breath that they need patents, because they secretly know they can exploit the patents to undermine competitors and earn a fortune out of taxing competitors. Meanwhile the patent lawyers will argue we need patents as they secretly know its worth millions to them to keep patent battles in the courts.

    All the while, all this legal fighting keeps showing how much its all undermining the fact engineering used to be about the craftsmanship of artisans and the importance of good design. :(

    1. Stoneshop

      Middle managers, telephone sanitisers, hairdressers and SEO Specialists

      will have to wait until all the patent litigation attorneys, intellectual property middlemen and other such scum have been irreversibly transferred to their hold in the 'B' Ark.

      That virulent telephone-based disease looks to be the lesser risk of fucking up our society, and anyway, those patents covering medication will be out of the way.

    2. Tom 38
      Thumb Down

      What a load of bullshit


      It means ironically, society would now be better off without patents any longer. It would save everyone a lot of money.


      BS. The world would be a better place if only corporations could rip off any industrial process without paying? The world would be a better place if engineers and inventors had no way of protecting or profiting from their IP?

      Patents are unpleasant but they are required to reward innovation and insight. Without them, there is no incentive to be smart, and you end up with nothing. No doubt they need reform, particularly US software patents, but to say we would be better of without patents just paints you as a deluded loon.

      1. blackcat Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        So true

        "No doubt they need reform, particularly US software patents, but to say we would be better of without patents just paints you as a deluded loon."

        Without patents we would not have the constant competition between Intel and AMD, nVidia and ATI, Google and Apple, oh how the list goes on.

        Company A comes up with a way of doing something neat

        Company B comes up with a different way of doing it better

        Company A makes theirs better yet again


        How quickly did the CPU market hot up after Intel stopped AMD copying them?

        Without patents or copyright:

        Company A comes up with a way of doing something neat

        Company B copies it cos they can and sells it cheaper

        Company A goes bust cos they can't compete

        The patent system does need a major cleanup and the US one needs it the most. There does seem to be far too many wishywashy patents out there patenting what is basically public domain prior art simply because no-one has ever laid claim to it.

        1. Asgard

          @blackcat, you are so wrong about so much

          "Without patents we would not have the constant competition between Intel and AMD, nVidia and ATI, Google and Apple, oh how the list goes on."

          That is absolutely wrong and you are being totally fooled by the two faced rhetoric of the control freaks who want patents. The constant competition between companies is for the billions they earn for gaining as much market share as possible. That remains true in a world without patents, because the competition would actually speed up to stay ahead, not slows down as it can with patents.

          blackcat you are blindly repeating the patent control freaks rhetoric. They want control. They want to control competitors. Its all about an endless need to control with them and with control that slows down progress because that is what control all about, the ability to stop people. It holds back competitors from using similar improvements. If we lived in a world without patents that would force companies to keep improving their designs to stay ahead of competitors or they go out of business as it should be.

          But then anyone who secretly fears they cannot come up with better designs than competitors will back the need for patents. That is the typical two faced game of the passive aggressives in society, who have a hidden agenda in what they say.

          We need a society that rewards improvements but doesn't allow companies to then sit back and stop improving as patents do. With patents they create something that prevents everyone using the same improvements for decades. We need to accelerate progress, not allow ways for huge corporations to hold progress back. This puts the design engineers centre stage of importance as it should be. Currently its the corporate lawyers who are centre stage as its all about their need to control and design engineers are sidelined. You can see that is true from their pay differences which shows who their corporate bosses really think are most important to their businesses. (Don't listen to the bosses lying two faced rhetoric about the importance of design engineers. Instead see what the bosses actions really show how they really think, which proves their real priorities are not design engineers).

          The two faced rhetoric of the control freak bosses is that they always want control to do this, that and the other. It is a relentless lie born out of their need to control competitors because they ultimately fear they cannot out design their competitors. They fear they cannot come up with better designs. In such a world without patents, the designers become more important as it should be, as the need to stay ahead becomes more important and so that drives changes ahead faster. So I stand by what I said, the bullshit of the current broken patent system shows its lost sight of engineering used to be about the craftsmanship of artisans and the importance of good design. :(

  6. Jared Vanderbilt

    "Vast right-wing conspiracy"

    Hillary, the Uni-bomber, and now poor little Google. When will it all end?

  7. Dave 124

    What is a Patent Worth?

    Unlike the author I have actually written over six patents both hardware and software. On examination of the Patents being used to extort money from Android users the ones that are available to view are primarily prior art or obvious. I have to agree with Google on this one. The primary strategy is to conceal the patents in question to prevent a challenge by the open source community. If it really about taking some precious idea that Microsoft developed why not reveal it? No, their goal is to conceal the patents to prevent offending code from being removed, catch Google off guard and maximize the public and legal damage.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Forced public viewing of patents

      This is one of the major problems. You can't fight what you can't see.

      I think that worldwide there should be a publicly available patent database (even if each country runs their own) and all patent holders should be forced to submit their patents to the databases.

      And by default all new approved patents will automatically appear on this database as well.

      It will be much easier to search for something to license, avoid or even challenge on prior art.

      1. Arctic fox
        Thumb Up

        That I agree with 110%!

        The very idea that something that has a *huge* effect on the market is legal to conceal is frankly astonishing. If it does not tolerate the light of day then the patent should be cancelled forthwith without further discussion. The very act of trying to hide the nature of the patent should *automatically* lead to it being cancelled.

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  9. LJRich

    Paranoid Android

    Google is actually whinging because the other kids are picking on it in the playground? Way to be professional, Mountain Viewers....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh really Google?!/BradSmi/status/98902130412355585

    1. hexx

      was about

      to post the same thing ;)

      also, so google cries now because they couldn't get nortel patents. what they forgot to mention is that their bid was $3.14b, much higher than apple's.

      liars, bunch of liars. of course, they don't care that patent trolls are attacking developers but as soon as somebody attack them they write up BS like that.

  11. johnnymotel

    not the whole truth...

    Since this statement, MS issued their own statement, that Google were invited to join the consortiums, they REFUSED. So now they complain?

  12. Rosco

    Microsoft offered to share with Google

    Worth noting that Microsoft's general counsel said this: "Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no".

    Puts a different light on it, doesn't it?

    1. Arctic fox

      @Rosco RE: If that is true then that is *very* interesting.

      Note that I stress *if* it is the case that MS asked Google to get onboard. In that event it makes it very interesting as to why MS (who have more patents than you can shake a stick at) wanted to bid. Was it possibly to checkmate a certain "greengrocer"? It is possible (if this is true - note that I say *if*, so I would appreciate not being subjected to spastic dollar key howling) that MS *on this occasion* got involved defensively and Google *may* have made a mistake in not getting involved.

    2. Arctic fox

      @Rosco I should perhaps point out that my reference to............

      .........."spastic dollar key howling" was directed at a certain section of the "cognoscenti" and not you!

  13. jai


    Drummond said on Wednesday in a blog post "waaaghh waaaghh waaaaghhh the big boys are picking on me!! i want my mummy!!!! waaaghh"

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google strategy

    It is just Google appealing to the freetards, Linux dicks, fandroids, etc for support.

  15. GatesFanbois

    Nortel Patents?

    Yep the Nortel patents were just a big conspiracy to keep them away from google... except they were invited to join the consortium bidding. This email was released after the google rant.

    Brad –

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you — I came down with a 24-hour bug on the way back from San Antonio. After talking with people here, it sounds as though for various reasons a joint bid wouldn’t be advisable for us on this one. But I appreciate your flagging it, and we’re open to discussing other similar opportunities in the future.

    I hope the rest of your travels go well, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.


    1. hexx

      you've got it wrong

      that comment is related to Novell patents, not Nortel patents

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, lot of Google lovers here.

    Some people getting down voted for anything bad to say about Google.

    Google is trying to kill competition by using it's dominance in advertising and providing free software.

    Ask youselves this, do you want to be in a world where there is no MS, no Oracle, no Adobe, no Yahoo, no Nokia?

    You may at first say yes,yes, YES! But then when there is only Google left, they can charge what they want and how they want.

    I'm not saying Google is evil, but be careful what you wish for....

    1. Stoneshop

      @AC 08:43

      "Ask youselves this, do you want to be in a world where there is no MS, no Oracle, no Adobe, no Yahoo, no Nokia?"

      Only if you extend that list to include Google. And Sony.

  17. Tom 15


    Google have always had a policy of charging the user nothing but attempting to make money from them through advertising. This has been enormously successful online and it looks like they've repeated that success through the phone market.

    Google haven't done anything wrong with Android, we know they're not ripping off other's IP and we know how distorted and broken the American patent system is.

    I always have respect for a company that manage to provide a better product than the competition, offer it to the user for free and still end up with the biggest margins.

    1. Stoneshop

      @Tom 15

      I can only agree with your first paragraph; the jury's still out on the second (excluding the bit about the USPTO), and in the third you're using a definition of 'free' with which I'm not familiar.

      Sure, the consumer doesn't have to pay directly for Android, but Google are no filantropists. Ad revenue, which if you get to the start of that chain is provided by consumers, is what's funding the entire Googlopoly, and using part of that to catch more ad-viewers is basic business sense; no need for respect there.

  18. jai

    does Dave smoke much?

    i'm just saying,

  19. Anonymous Coward

    You should not

    be able to buy patents UNLESS you are actively creating products which use them. Also, get rid of the mindless crap that are software patents.

    Both of these measures would instantly stop this nonsense. The US patent system is drowning companies and it is only going to get worse unless they seriously pull their finger out.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    maybe you are wrong

    "I always have respect for a company that manage to provide a better product than the competition, offer it to the user for free and still end up with the biggest margins"

    I could argue that Microsoft makes more money out of Android than Google does themeselves. MS gets will get around $10. How many adverts do you have to serve on Android to accummulate $10 per device? Scientific answers welcomed. Also don't forget they have to provide infastructure for marketplace, where many of the apps are free or pirated. Android wasn't even mentioned in the profit breakdown of recent Google results.

  21. GatesFanbois

    Googles patents

    Some of the patents Google have been granted border on the rediculous.

    This is the company that patented: "System and Method For Enticing Users To A Web Site."

    Where by they patented changing your website logo. Face it all the companies be it Microsoft, Apple, Oracle or Google are just as bad as each other.

  22. David Hagan

    All Patents are Bogus

    They are merely a system by which capitalists can oppress the common man through legal blackmail. Only a scoundrel patents the obvious and only a corrupt system upholds it in law.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the blog post

    "This anti-competitive strategy is also escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they’re really worth. The winning $4.5 billion for Nortel’s patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion."

    1) That pre-auction estimate was set by.... Google.

    2) Presumably Google's bid of $3.14 billion wasn't "escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they’re really worth".

  24. Bilgepipe


    Ahhhh, poor Google.

    So why was Google also bidding for those patents, then, and would this guy be bleating and whining if they had won them?

  25. hexx

    google fanboys!!!

    nice to see that you're active and all fine downrating every single comment which is against google. grow up you freetards!

  26. hexx

    great article

    on this topic can be found here:

  27. Ken 16 Silver badge

    I can believe a Hostile campaign

    by those 3 but an organised one? Oracle, Microsoft and Apple couldn't work together if they tried. I think it's more likely they share a goal but not the means.

  28. Pat 4


    "Calling the lot "bogus" is a bold statement indeed."

    No it's not.

    Software patents themselves are completely ridiculous and bogus, in fact, the entire concept of patenting software is utterly idiotic. Software patents must die.

  29. Paul Bruneau

    MS Saved Apple?

    I hope that was an ironic line for laughs, because I certainly laughed when I read it.

    1. hexx


      they actually have 'saved' them looong time ago with a big investment

  30. Paul Bruneau


    That is why I was laughing. They didn't save them with that tiny investment ($150 million never mattered to Apple even when they were much smaller).

    It was a small effort to boost confidence in Apple because MS was afraid of anti-competitive regulations if they lost the only real OS competitor out there.

    But that $150m sure didn't save Apple. The iMac followed by the iPod followed by iTunes followed by the iPhone is what got Apple where it is today. In short, Steve saved Apple.

    1. ThomH

      @Paul: it was more about Office

      Microsoft invested a small amount of money but also reinvigorated Office development and promised to continue to support the platform for five years, whatever happens. Prior to the 1997 agreement, Office development for Mac was moribund, which was one of the things making the platform look stagnant at best. In return IE displaced Netscape as the default browser on the Mac, which it continued to be until OS X 10.3 debuted.

      So Apple got to look a little more alive and Microsoft got to kick Netscape.

  31. Rex Alfie Lee
    Black Helicopters

    Mixosux, Crapple & Orakill, aka scum..

    A-holes of the software world. Microsoft has nothing left other than to dump their lawyers & f-wit CEO. Apple is on their final suit & has no more progress left in them. Hence their next bleeding Pad is barely an improvement. As for Oracle, who no-one likes nor cares about anymore, they have nowhere to go bcoz their software is outdated so badly they had to buy someone else's.

    Three scummy rats on the road to nowhere, nothing to offer other than to take down a company that is still developing future-filled software. When will the patent office wake up & stop this parade of ridiculous patents that have nothing that isn't either obvious nor is it identifiably different from everything else.

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