Can 17,000 patents help Android win a legal Cold War?

12 01 2012

Dec. 22, 2011

“Patent lawsuit filed against Android” has become a distressingly familiar headline for Google and its hardware partners. With Microsoft signing license agreements covering more than 50 percent of Android phones, Apple working the courts to block sales of HTC and Samsung devices, and various lawsuits launched by rivals from Oracle to BT, the Android mobile operating system is stumbling through a legal minefield.

It’s fair to complain that the patent system itself is broken, as we’ve done on numerous occasions. Google has publicly bemoaned what it calls “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.” But expecting the patent system to change overnight is a “pipe dream,” says Michael Carrier, an antitrust scholar at Rutgers-Camden. This stark reality requires each company entering the mobile market to prepare for all-out war, and legal experts we’ve interviewed agree that Google failed to adequately protect Android from legal attack. Google declined to provide a comment or interview for this story.


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