Let’s face it – Google’s partners are under a lot of stress. Their decision to go with Android came with a lot of headache. It’s not that we didn’t see potential legal problems in Google’s future before, it’s that we never imagined so many different companies would target Google and their hardware vendors. Most of it has to do with patent infringement, cases which Google believes stifles competition. It does stifle competition, but that doesn’t make infringement legal under today’s system.
Fortunately, Google won’t take it lying down. At the very least, they need to make sure Android’s distribution isn’t affected by the mountains of cases stacked against them. I’m sure they’re fine with settling or paying licensing fees, but some of these cases have the potential of being ruled against Google’s favor and could very well see the death of Android licensing. We’re not sure if that’ll ever happen, but we certainly hope it doesn’t.
That’s why we’re glad to see Google bidding for patent portfolio’s like the one Nortel had. Although they lost that auction, it shows that Google was making yet another aggressive push to secure patents so that they can go on about their business. Now, they’re taking an even bigger step forward.
Google’s building a team of patent lawyers to help them in all this. Everything from handling patent lawsuit cases to scouting prospects and setting up for acquisitions will be the team’s responsibility. Google knows they won’t be able to win this battle by claiming that competition is being stifled every time someone serves them a subpoena so they’re making real moves to properly handle this ongoing issue. Let’s hope all of this turns out to be as fruitful as Google wants it to be in the long run. [TechCrunch]