The search engine outfit has bough 17,000 patents from Motorola Mobility and thinks that a group of 18 may prove “most useful” in Google’s effort to fend off litigation targeting the Android.
The inventions date back to 1994 and cover technology essential to the mobile device industry, including location services, antenna designs, email transmission, touch screen motions, software application management and third generation wireless.
Basically Google can tell Jobs’ Mob to sling its hook or it will unleash the hounds.
It has cost Google $12.5 billion to get Motorola Mobility to strengthen its patent lineup and the deal is still being sorted out.
However it will mean that Google will become pro-active in taking on Android rivals. Since Google does not make any cash from the operating system, the proprietary software makers have had to go after each of Android’s partners.
They have had some success. An ITC judge last month found HTC’s Android phones infringed two Apple patents, which may spur a US import ban.
But with all the patents for the Motorola Mobility, which created the consumer market for mobile phones with the DynaTAC 8000X “brick” in 1983, it means that Google has a secret weapon. Motorola was already had a go at BlackBerry maker Research in Motion. That deal required Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM to make an undisclosed upfront payment and pay royalties.
It is unlikely that Google will demand much in the way of cash. What it is likely to do is demand IP peace on the Android front.
It would be difficult for Apple to fight one Google patent which comes from 2001 which disables a “touch sensitive” sensor when a smartphone is near a user’s head to prevent inadvertent hang-ups or dialing. Another from 1994 aims to increase data storage, while a third enables users to control when a global positioning system sends their location data over a network.
However Motorola has not got total control of the market. Microsoft has sued the outfit for infringing seven of its patents and requested a halt to imports of certain Motorola phones.
It has counter-attacked with a claim that Microsoft has nicked some of its patents over video technology and is seeking to block imports of the Xbox video-game console.
Apple filed its own patent-infringement complaints against Motorola.
But according to Associated Press, it is fairly likely that we have only seen the tip of the iceburg when it comes to Motorola’s patents. The first round is usually a warning shot, then the opposition gets hit by barrage after barrage until it signs a peace deal.