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Google's general counsel: software patents "gumming up" innovation

According to Google's general counsel, Kent Walker, software patents are "gumming up" innovation in the smartphone market. His statements come during a time when lawsuits and patent claims are being made more and more regularly by companies, as well as patent holding groups. Walker believes that the current environment is damaging to consumers and also to the smartphone market as a whole, as BGR reports. The first point that was raised by Kent Walker was the following:

“Software patents are kind of gumming up the works of innovation.”

Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt, said recently that they would "stand behind HTC", after the Taiwanese company received a lawsuit from Apple over a patented design. Schmidt's wording suggested that competitors were acting more out of jealousy. In a statement made to Bloomberg, he said the following:

“We have seen an explosion of Android devices entering the market and, because of our successes, competitors are responding with lawsuits as they cannot respond through innovations.”

Schmidt claims that the company would be prepared to buy the rights to patents in order to more easily compete with rivals, such as Apple and now Microsoft. It is currently unclear what they are prepared to buy in order to gain an edge over their competitors and retain their position as the owners of the leading smartphone operating system. Walker's stance, however, was this:

“Each side can blow the other up on some level – everybody can block the other’s products from coming to market,” Walker said. “You create this mutually assured destruction scenario, but it’s very expensive to get all those munitions. Buying patents so you can hit the other guy, it’s not good form. You hate to unilaterally disarm here, but we haven’t in our history.”

He said also that he is confident that Google has the muscle to compete against the competitors in the market.

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