Google attempting to acquire Nortel's patents

Google has long stated that they are opposed to software patents. Many companies make a habit of purchasing patents for the sole purpose of suing other companies who may have similar technology. Alternatively, companies will create broad patents that cover something generic like double-clicking a link, and will then sue other companies who “use” that technology. Google argues that this stifles innovation; it’s very expensive to defend yourself from a patent case.

Google announced on their blog that they are attempting to purchase Nortel’s patent portfolio. Currently they are the “stalking horse bid,” meaning they get to set the first bid to acquire the patents from the bankrupt company.  According to the CBC, Google’s initial bid is $900M and covers the purchase of roughly 6,000 patents.

The reason for trying to acquire the patents seems to mostly revolve around protecting the company from potential frivolous lawsuits as well as to help the open source community continue to innovate and grow projects such as Android and Chrome. According to Nortel, their patent portfolio covers, “nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking.”

Until patent reform becomes a reality, companies will continue to purchase patents to use in both an offensive and defensive manner.

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20 Comments

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I kinda like this idea, Nortel used to make a lot of good phone system stuff. Heck we could even have full ip based Google phone systems with android integration, I would be up for that.

Still, I'm going to miss Nortel

$900M is a lot of coin to drop simply for preemptive lawsuit protection. though it's not unlikely that Google has already knowingly infringed on patents which were not being actively enforced, but could be in the event of acquisition by an interested party. they probably don't want more Oracle fiascos

wonder what patents are in there they would be interested in, most of that is stuff like PBX, phone switching, and phone routing... stuff google doesn't even touch with their current products

I'd love to see Google getting turned down in favor of Apple.

Well, that is if I lived outside this universe. Literally outside. Outside as in beyond the outer limit of the universe. And even then, I'd puke a little.

I'f any company should have these patents it's Google. It's good for the open-source comunity.
Go Google!

Renato456 said,
I'f any company should have these patents it's Google. It's good for the open-source comunity.
Go Google!

Google is no better then the others, I wouldn't trust them anymore then Apple or MS.

Google is in favour of OS aslong as it suits their business needs.

Renato456 said,
I'f any company should have these patents it's Google. It's good for the open-source comunity.
Go Google!

Do you think of Google as some kind of charity organization or what? It can assure you, it's not.

Renato456 said,
I'f any company should have these patents it's Google. It's good for the open-source comunity.
Go Google!

You drank the Coolaid.........didn't you

day2die said,

Do you think of Google as some kind of charity organization or what? It can assure you, it's not.

Maybe not, but they do tend to use their patent portfolio defensively rather than offensively. How many times have you heard of Google filing a lawsuit against someone over patents? Not nearly as often as Microsoft, Apple, or any of the other companies that may be after this portfolio.

I'm not saying that Google will definitely use this portfolio to directly benefit the OS community, but speaking from historical trends, OS developers would be a bit safer if Google were holding onto these patents than if Apple was.

Joey H said,

Maybe not, but they do tend to use their patent portfolio defensively rather than offensively. How many times have you heard of Google filing a lawsuit against someone over patents? Not nearly as often as Microsoft, Apple, or any of the other companies that may be after this portfolio.

I'm not saying that Google will definitely use this portfolio to directly benefit the OS community, but speaking from historical trends, OS developers would be a bit safer if Google were holding onto these patents than if Apple was.

I've not heard of Apple going after open source developers, mostly defensive and offense against other producers. If you can show me where they have done so, please show me as I've not seen it yet.

evo_spook said,

Google is no better then the others, I wouldn't trust them anymore then Apple or MS.

Google is in favour of OS aslong as it suits their business needs.


ok tell me an organisation who support open source which dont suit their business needs...

evo_spook said,

Google is no better then the others, I wouldn't trust them anymore then Apple or MS.

Google is in favour of OS aslong as it suits their business needs.


True but at least most of their businesses are free for the consumers, something that never happen in other companies.

Renato456 said,
I'f any company should have these patents it's Google. It's good for the open-source comunity.
Go Google!

Google itself has been horrible for the open source community. Are you insane?

Just because they allow you to keep seeing the source code, does not mean they allow you to touch, change or add to it.

Android is about as open source as Windows NT, as you can open Windows NT and look at the machine code, though not as pretty as C++.

However at the end of the day, ONLY Google says what is Android and what is in Android, just like at the end of the only Microsoft get to say what WindowsNT is and what is in WindowsNT.

Try releasing your own Android with any intention of it being a real product, I dare ya. Heck even the Android Mods have been smacked around by Google.

Do a search for Google and Cyanogen for an example of how wonderful Google is, and how 'open' they are...

Geesh.

thenetavenger said,

Google itself has been horrible for the open source community. Are you insane?

Just because they allow you to keep seeing the source code, does not mean they allow you to touch, change or add to it.

Android is about as open source as Windows NT, as you can open Windows NT and look at the machine code, though not as pretty as C++.

However at the end of the day, ONLY Google says what is Android and what is in Android, just like at the end of the only Microsoft get to say what WindowsNT is and what is in WindowsNT.

Try releasing your own Android with any intention of it being a real product, I dare ya. Heck even the Android Mods have been smacked around by Google.

Do a search for Google and Cyanogen for an example of how wonderful Google is, and how 'open' they are...

Geesh.

Of course only Google says what's Android and what's not, same as only RedHat says what's RHEL and what's not. It's about trademark, not about the actual code.

evo_spook said,

Google is no better then the others, I wouldn't trust them anymore then Apple or MS.

Google is in favour of OS aslong as it suits their business needs.

Google is no charity, but they have two things over both Apple and MS:

1)They are members of the OIN.
2)AFAIK they haven't yet gone offensive with their patent portfolio.

Unix2 said,

True but at least most of their businesses are free for the consumers, something that never happen in other companies.
That's where you're wrong. Nothing is free. When you use Google products, you give them stuff for free too. If you don't know the value of the stuff you give them, then you're a fool in the game.

thenetavenger said,

Do a search for Google and Cyanogen for an example of how wonderful Google is, and how 'open' they are...

Geesh.

This happened ages ago, and it wasn't even a big deal then...
http://phandroid.com/2009/09/2...esponds-to-cyanogen-uproar/

In summary: Google couldn't let Cyanogen distribute the mod with Google apps pre-installed, and OEMs pay Google for the privilege of having those apps pre-installed on their devices. Google contacted Cyanogen before they had a chance to get sued by OEMs, which is good.

You really need to get your facts straight and stop scaremongering.

evo_spook said,

Google is no better then the others, I wouldn't trust them anymore then Apple or MS.

Google is in favour of OS aslong as it suits their business needs.


I'f your speaking about open-source I think their far better then Ms or Apple. They have dozens of Open source projects.