Google: Microsoft, Apple waging hostile campaign on Android via 'bogus patents'

ADVERTISEMENT
Drummond said the firms have purchased old patents previously held by Nortel and Novell so Google couldn't get them, sought $15 licensing fees for every Android device and filed lawsuits alleging the violation of patents. The number of patent lawsuits among smartphone makers has spiked in recent months.

"Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it," Drummond said, adding that a smartphone can involve as many as 250,000 "largely questionable" patent claims.


More from The Hill:
♦ Huge cyber-attack targets United Nations, defense contractors
♦ DOJ, DHS announce biggest online child porn sting to date
♦ Vitter blocks Interior nominee over Gulf drilling concerns
♦ CDC estimates 50,000 new HIV cases a year
♦ Appeals court tosses NJ health law challenge


Our competitors "want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation," he added.

Drummond argued Microsoft and Apple are pursuing an anti-competitive strategy that inflates the cost of patents beyond their true value, pointing to the $4.5 billion the two firms paid for Nortel's patents after they were estimated to be worth $1 billion pre-auction.

"Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means — which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop," he said.

Drummond said Google "thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it."

He also said the search giant is encouraged the Justice Department is scrutinizing the purchase of Nortel's patents. Google is also looking at other ways to protect Android, such as expanding its own portfolio of patents.