While Android is probably one of Google’s biggest successes, it has been getting screwed by almost every major technology company which has a few patents to its name. The patent wars, as I like to call them, have intensified so much, that almost every mobile company in the US is involved in a patent lawsuit with each other. Apple is suing HTC and Samsung, Samsung is suing it back, Nokia is suing Apple, and Microsoft is making more money from Android than it ever did (or will) from Windows Phone 7. Dying giants like Nokia are making more money from patent settlements and licensing agreements than they make by selling smartphones.
Even Oracle, which is known for its huge army of patent lawyers is suing Google, over the use of Java in Android, and hopes to make a few billion dollars out of it. It seems like everyone except Google is going to make money off Android now, which is probably why Google is now taking things into its own hands.
It has been trying to get its hands on some patents related to wireless telecommunication, just so it can fight off other companies wanting a piece of the Android pie. It bid billions of dollars for the Nortel patent portfolio, even going crazy momentarily, bidding all sorts of weird numbers like Pi billion dollars, but eventually lost the auction, when Apple, Microsoft and some others decide to gang up against it bidding a huge amount which was ridiculously high even for Google.
It has apparently shown interest in acquiring InterDigital, which has a huge patent portfolio, but Apple is trying to crash even that party. Apple has roughly double the cash reserves of Google, and it is willing to go to any lengths to ensure that Google doesn’t get hold of any patents.
So now Google seems to be trying the standard way – inventing stuff and applying for patents. It has put up a job opening on its website for patent agents.
“As a Patent Agent, you’ll help protect Google’s valuable and growing intellectual property. This is a vital role on the Patent team in which you’ll work with and manage outside counsel during their preparation and prosecution of domestic and foreign patent applications. A significant portion of your job will be to acquire a deep understanding of Google’s business and technologies and to collaborate with engineers and product managers for the purpose of harvesting ideas for new patent applications. This will include educating them on the intricacies of the patent system. Your responsibilities may also grow to include assisting with the review of third-party offers to license and/or purchase patents and supporting due-diligence activities in merger-and-acquisition transactions. You’ll work with an invigorating, inspiring team of innovators who are passionate about future technologies and excited about resolving their ensuing legal challenges.”
Good luck, Google. You need it. You are probably going to get screwed a lot in the coming months. I’m rooting for you.