Google Ranking Low on the Patent Scale, Does it Jeopardize Android?


Last week IFI CLAIMS Patent Services presented a list of the top fifty companies in terms of patents awarded in 2010, and our beloved Google and torchbearer of the Android OS was not to be found on the list. Microsoft fell at number three with just over 3,000 new patents, while Apple’s 563 new patents was the greatest percentage increase year-over-year than any other company. Meanwhile, Google rang up 282 new patents throughout 2010.

That equates to just about half of their 576 total patents owned, and suggests the company is indeed marking their territory at an ever increasing rate, but is it enough? In a time when companies are suing each other quicker than they are outdoing each other in terms of innovation, the intellectual property of an operating system is as important as any other aspect. Paying out licensing fees, court settlements, or even being forced to remove some features are just part of the ill effects of weakened ownership of patent rights.

But Android is open source, so it may be easier to shrug off the patent argument. Ask any of the numerous companies that have sued Google and that might the case, however.

[via CellularNews]

Kevin Krause
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  1. My guess not!

  2. No, it means they are not being evil. Software Patents are evil.

  3. Google uses open standards for their software for just about everything. You don’t have to own a patent to mark your ground. You just have to prove that you did it first. If someone has a software patent that Google provided in one of their OSes 5 years before it will get thrown out. Many of the patents that Apple has are hardware related. Total up all the patents of all the manufacturers that make Android phones and see how that compares to Apple.

  4. Quantity does not dictate quality

  5. As @Matthew Lenz pointed out, we are not going to see Android patents from Google in great numbers. You’ll see Android patents from the handset manufacturers. HTC, Samsung, Moto, LG all together probably come damn close to Apple. On the other hand, Apple is patent crazy. Have you READ some of those applications? Nuts.

  6. patenting is an evil business, and real business strategy does not rely on it. It’s a lazy way to achieve temporary advantages, and usually preferred by companies who want to capture all or most of the money in their production chain, screwing over their vendors and possible collaborators. (Ahem, the list of top patent filers proves this point.)

  7. most of those patents are hardware, google is soly software though so i’d say they have plenty, especially considering MOST of their work is open-source and needs no protection as it belongs to the world as a collective whole

  8. also strongly agree with mike, look at the top of the list and look at their buisness strategies…. google is not like these companies, they are OPEN

  9. Google’s search algorithm is open source?

  10. Makes sense to me. If google makes the makority of their money from ads and search why make it harder for people to make devices that bring more people to services that make money, lots of money in the long run, versus patents on technology that will likely change. Its their services that make most of their money.

  11. Only if companies keep trying to go after Google, Android would I like to see them become a lil patent crazy too.

  12. LOL… It means they lack any real innovation. Android is great at stealing ideas from other developers and re-badging them as their own.

  13. Stealing ideas? Interesting. It couldn’t be possible that more than one person came up with the same idea?

    As for re-badging of ideas, all “inventions” are built on previous “inventions” or ideas. Thats how we advance. People don’t invent new things, they just improve on or tweak existing ideas. Apple didn’t invent the touchscreen, they just came up with some ideas on how to use it differently.

    Patents are a joke and stifle development and cost consumers.

  14. @10 Dead on man, Services. Thats why google scares the shit outta their competition, They are a service, and until the need for their services diminish they wont need patents. in the next 5 years the ipod/iphone product line will be completely different, apple will have to update their products accordingly with the times, including new patents for the new hardware. google just keeps offering more services that dont go away.

  15. Eh, they just need to find something that IBM, Redhat, and others want, then join their consortium. I can’t really see a connection now, other than Eclipse is IBM’s philanthropic baby, and Google loves Eclipse.

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