Mobile operating systems

BT sues Google for patent infringement

Kathleen Hall

BT has filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming that the search giant’s mobile operating system Android infringes a number of the telecoms company’s patents.

The telecoms company alleges Google has infringed on six BT patents through Google Maps, Google Music, location-based advertising and Android Market products on Android.

Google is currently fighting lawsuits from Apple, Oracle, Microsoft and eBay.

“We have commenced legal proceedings against Google, Inc. by filing a claim with the US District Court of Delaware for patent infringement," said a BT spokesman. “The patents in question relate to technologies which underpin location-based services, navigation and guidance information and personalised access to services and content."

He added: “This is about protecting BT’s investment in its intellectual property rights and innovation. It is a well-considered claim and we believe there is a strong case for infringement.”

Clive Longbottom, analyst at Quocirca, said BT has moved too slowly with its bid to sue Google. “If you really want to stop a company from doing something, you should sue them as soon as you are aware that it is happening. For BT to say it was unaware of this until now sounds unconvincing,” he said.  

“BT has a massive patent library going back 100 years and it is looking to make sure those patents are locked down, otherwise it will lose them." added Longbottom. "But it’s an incredibly slow-moving, conservative organisation. Just compare the speed at which it has moved on this with IBM and its [more aggressive] approach to patent infringements.”

He added that Google was also making an aggressive play for market share through patents, having recently bought Motorola for its patents so it can clamp down on other mobile manufacturers.


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