It isn’t a secret that Google lost to Rockstar Bidco over the 6,000 Nortel patents that would’ve been the key to solve the companies infringement cases filed against them by various rival companies. So it really isn’t a surprise that the company is lamenting over their loss.
And as if the ‘tech-gods’ have heard Google’s woes, the acquisition of Rockstar Bidco is now being scrutinized for the buyer’s intentions, if the patents acquired will be used to file litigations against Google’s Android.
The Justice Department is interviewing the winning companies to see if they plan on filing suits against other handset makers using Google’s Android operating system software. The department could end up placing rules and conditions on the sale based on what it hears.
Since Google lost on the Nortel patent bid, they found other options into upping their patent status, as they recently bought over 1,000 patents from IBM. It was IBM that was awarded 5,896 patents just in 2010. The company is an intellectual property factory, and is currently Google’s best bet to overcome these infringement cases.
“Like many tech companies, at times we’ll acquire patents that are relevant to our business,” a Google spokesman said in a statement.
Google’s general counsel, Kent Walker, recently argued that all this patent-infringement litigation was stifling innovation, and being used by companies that want to “block competing products or profit from the success of a rival’s new technology.” He said Google’s only recourse was to try to purchase a large number of patents for itself, as it’s a younger company with a thinner patent load compared to many of its competitors.
Still on the lines of increasing their patent holdings, Google is considering acquiring InterDigital, the mobile chip technology developer.
InterDigital owns and licenses about 8,800 patents relating to transmitting wireless data, canceling noise interference during phone calls and other technologies for use in cellular phones and networks. Its patent portfolio is built mainly around handsets, and covers different wireless standards, making it an attractive target not just for Google, but also for other large telecommunications and technology companies which could help insulate Google’s Android franchise from a growing number of lawsuits against device makers such as Samsung, HTC and Motorola.
Google is also facing another dilemma as their Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, was called upon by the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee to testify in the hearing entitled “The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?” The hearing will discuss complaints coming from 3 European companies namely Foundem, ejustice.fr, and Ciao! from Bing.
Google is not getting a break, with ceaseless left and right punches from rivals, and now an uppercut coming from the Senate Judiciary. But with the IBM patent acquisition and the possible InterDigital acquisition, these could easily change the future for Google’s plans to own the mobile space.