December 19, 2011
British Telecom Suing Android Over Patent Infringement
High profile disputes over elements of the software on mobile devices show no signs of slowing down. Billions of dollars in damages are being claimed by British Telecom (BT) over a number of key patents infringed upon by Google´s Android mobile operating system, Steven Musil of CNET is reporting.
Specifically, BT claims six patents are infringed by Google Maps, Google Music, location-based advertising and Android Market on Android. If successful, the suit could mean that either Google directly or various mobile handset makers would have to pay BT royalties on each Android handset produced and sold. The suit seeks unspecified damages as well as an injunction.
The Android mobile platform is loaded on more than 40 percent of handsets and was delivered onto nearly 160-million mobile devices last year. Google boasts more than 500,000 devices with Android software activated every day.
A Google spokesman rejected BT´s claims, telling the CNET reporter: “We believe these claims are without merit and we will defend vigorously against them.”
A BT spokesman told Charles Arthur of The Guardian, “BT can confirm that it has commenced legal proceedings against Google by filing a claim with the US District Court of Delaware for patent infringement.”
“The patents in question relate to technologies which underpin location-based services, navigation and guidance information and personalized access to services and content. BT´s constant investment in innovation has seen it develop a large portfolio of patents which are valuable corporate assets.”
British Telecom´s lawsuits are not the only ones Google is fending off relating to Android. A number of handset makers including HTC and Samsung have yielded to Microsoft against the Android OS and are paying a per-handset license fee for every unit they manufacture. The new lawsuit marks a return to attempts by BT to monetize its patent portfolio over web use, reports Dave Neal or the Inquirer.
Android´s alleged infringements would also seem to apply to Apple´s iPhone and iPad mobile device with the “Busuioc Patent”, which detects if a mobile device is connected to a cellular or wifi network allowing streaming dependent on that.
However, in 2000 the company went to court in the US against Prodigy, one of the biggest internet service providers, claiming a patent on the hyperlink, embarrassingly for BT the claim was rejected when a judge said that no jury could find that the patent was infringed.
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