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Google Sued by British Telecom Over Android

By - Source: ZDNet UK | B 26 comments

Google is facing a lawsuit from British Telecom that accuses the Mountain View-based company of patent infringement.

UK Telecoms company British Telecom is suing Google for infringing on BT-owned patents with numerous products, including the Android operating system and AdWords. According to ZDNet, the company filed a lawsuit in Delaware last Thursday and is alleging "wilful and deliberate" patent infringement. The suit cites six patents and claims that Google's Android, AdMob, AdSense, AdWords, AdWords Express, DoubleClick, Gmail, Google+, Google Books, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Offers and Google Places are all infringing upon them.

For its part, Google says BT's claims are without merit, and the search giant plans to defend itself vigorously against these claims of patent infringement. The 23-page lawsuit, which has been published online via Scribd, describes BT as a telecommunications company at the forefront of research and innovation and credits the researchers and engineers at its research facility at Adastral Park near Ipswich for its portfolio of more than 10,000 patents. BT goes on to say that mobility and related network service technologies is just one of the areas that it has invested heavily in over the last two decades and says the patents in the suit are the resulted of extensive work in this field.

As such, British Telecom is seeking an injunction, damages and legal fees from Google.

For those interested, the patents involved in the suit (via FOSS Patents) are:

U.S. Patent No. 6,151,309: BT is alleging Google Music infringes upon this patent, which the telecoms company says involves "providing services by means of a combination of communications networks in spite of differing capabilities on the bandwidth that is available in certain mobile networks."

U.S. Patent No. 6,169,515: This patent details a navigation system that is comprised of one fixed part that is enhanced with a mobile part. FOSS Patents reports that BT is complaining Google Maps "determines the location of the user in relation to one or more discrete predetermined map overlay areas" and then offers guidance by transmitting information about public transport stops, tourist attractions and local facilities in the area "to all users within that overlay area."

U.S. Patent No. 6,397,040: FOSS Patents describes this one as 'broad,' and BT is alleging infringement via Google Maps, Google Search, Google Places, Google Offers, and Google+, so it's definitely pretty general. The patent itself covers the generation and transmission of "shortlists of sources of information dependent upon the location of a user."

U.S. Patent No. 6,578,079: The patent abstract details a system whereby the node is arranged to store customer identities, respective customer-associated lists of identities of information items for which the associated customer has access rights, and identities of item-associated information sources which store the respective items. The idea is that customers send a message requesting access to a certain item and the system, after ascertaining if the requested item is on this particular customer's list, retrieves the item and sends it to the customer. BT says the Android Market, Google Books and Google Music each infringe upon this patent.

U.S. Patent No. 6,650,284: This one is related to 6,169,515 as detailed above and adds the feature of offering different information "to a mobile part" if, for example, the route is affected by a physical characteristic of the vehicle being used. BT argues that Google Maps is capable of offering users alternative routes based on their mode of transport (such as a bicycle).

Last, but certainly not least, we have U.S. Patent No. 6,826,598: BT says both Google Maps and the service's Navigation feature infringe upon this patent, which allows for "rapid storage and retrieval of location-specific information stored across the distributed network where such information is accessible simultaneously from a pluarlity of remote user terminals."

For more details, hit up FOSS.

Display 26 Comments.
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  • 22 Hide
    zachusaman , December 19, 2011 5:11 PM
    international patent trolls assemble!!
  • 15 Hide
    Jerky_san , December 19, 2011 5:29 PM
    "providing services by means of a combination of communications networks in spite of differing capabilities on the bandwidth that is available in certain mobile networks." How did they ever get a patent for this? Did the bribe the patent office?
  • 13 Hide
    JeanLuc , December 19, 2011 5:27 PM
    It's all very well sueing other companies but BT ought to watch its step because people haven't forgotten that they tried to enforce a patent which they thought gave them the rights on hyperlinks. They lost but had they won they might have found that companies no longer wish to trade with them and Apple is in the same boat as all your doing is making yourself unpopular.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    zachusaman , December 19, 2011 5:11 PM
    international patent trolls assemble!!
  • 12 Hide
    jhansonxi , December 19, 2011 5:23 PM
    That's what happens when you're better than anyone else, especially when your foes invest more in the patent office than in innovation.
  • 13 Hide
    JeanLuc , December 19, 2011 5:27 PM
    It's all very well sueing other companies but BT ought to watch its step because people haven't forgotten that they tried to enforce a patent which they thought gave them the rights on hyperlinks. They lost but had they won they might have found that companies no longer wish to trade with them and Apple is in the same boat as all your doing is making yourself unpopular.
  • 15 Hide
    Jerky_san , December 19, 2011 5:29 PM
    "providing services by means of a combination of communications networks in spite of differing capabilities on the bandwidth that is available in certain mobile networks." How did they ever get a patent for this? Did the bribe the patent office?
  • 13 Hide
    digitalzom-b , December 19, 2011 5:42 PM
    So, when is the company that patented "sends network data via IP packets" going to come out and sue everyone. What's left? Seriously...
  • 12 Hide
    house70 , December 19, 2011 5:45 PM
    I think BT is trying to pry the first prize for "biggest patent troll of the year" from Apple.
  • 2 Hide
    ImThat1Guy , December 19, 2011 6:57 PM
    Seriously BT?

    I mean, really?
  • -2 Hide
    shinkueagle , December 19, 2011 7:03 PM
    "IT STARTS"... In OTHER NEWS..... There are over 300 dead in the Philippines......
  • 6 Hide
    richboyliang , December 19, 2011 7:41 PM
    good luck defeating google's team of 500 lawyers
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , December 19, 2011 8:28 PM
    fileing and trying to enforce bs patents should have a clause that if its found to be to generic, and obsolete, that you are striped of EVERY patent, and they go to open market.
  • 1 Hide
    g-thor , December 19, 2011 8:40 PM
    In a perfect world, the judge would be knowledgeable enough, or have consultants who would inspire him to ask, "How has BT put this patent into practice? What specific code has been used to make this work?" Then, he would have experts compare the code and if they aren't substantially (51%+) the same, throws the lawsuit out.

    I mean, the 4th patent listed looks like a relational database - associate a customer name with their account and with their purchases and any other relavent info. Can you say "overly-broad"?
  • 0 Hide
    Uberragen21 , December 19, 2011 9:27 PM
    This is yet another example of how the patent system throughout the world is broken. In the past you had to have a rough sketch of how the innovation worked prior to filing. Without a working or visible theoretical example, the patent would never go through. Now you can patent an idea without so much as developing a single thing. This is absurd and ridiculous and needs to change. Pretty soon people will be in violation of patents for breathing and we'll all have to pay royalties to some schmuck of a company.
  • 2 Hide
    DaveUK , December 19, 2011 11:11 PM
    I think they're trying to save enough money for a call centre that's actually based in the UK.
  • 2 Hide
    vigilante212 , December 19, 2011 11:37 PM
    could these patents be any more vague.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , December 19, 2011 11:52 PM
    In the first place, who is this BT company anyway? British Troll Company, HEHEHE !!!!
  • 2 Hide
    popatim , December 19, 2011 11:52 PM
    I'm gonna sit around and think up patents too...
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , December 20, 2011 12:59 AM
    Instead of being told that there's litigation I'd like to know whether it is even justified.
  • 0 Hide
    fatalshot808 , December 20, 2011 1:17 AM
    I don't understand why they wait so long to sue, android has been out since 2005 and so has google's AdWords. The Patent System is very Flawed...
  • 0 Hide
    surfer1337dude , December 20, 2011 2:24 AM
    Vigilante212could these patents be any more vague.

    Thats what I was thinking...
    richboylianggood luck defeating google's team of 500 lawyers

    I would think google has more then 500? lol :) 
    Fatalshot808I don't understand why they wait so long to sue, android has been out since 2005 and so has google's AdWords. The Patent System is very Flawed...

    As long as you have the patent you can sue at anytime....and they waited until it did enough "damage" that they can sue for a large amount. Maybe some kind of common knowledge clause should be added :-\
  • -1 Hide
    jsmakkar , December 20, 2011 3:12 AM
    Another war between Giants!!!
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