Google Sued by British Telecom Over Android

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.

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    Top Comments
  • zachusaman
    international patent trolls assemble!!
    22
  • Jerky_san
    "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?
    15
  • JeanLuc
    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.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • zachusaman
    international patent trolls assemble!!
    22
  • jhansonxi
    That's what happens when you're better than anyone else, especially when your foes invest more in the patent office than in innovation.
    12
  • JeanLuc
    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.
    13