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02.26.17

Google’s Stewardship of GNU/Linux (Android, Chromebooks and More) in Doubt After Company Resorts to Patent ‘First Strikes’

Posted in America, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 6:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From search engine with a ‘cute’ face to patent aggressor with a mean face, in less than two decades

Google search

Summary: Google has just turned a little more evil, by essentially using patents as a weapon against the competition (by no means a defensive move)

ABOUT 7 years ago I wrote to Google managers whom I knew that they should refrain from hiring patent lawyers, collecting lots of patents, and basically turning the company into a big patent bubble. But this had little effect on the company’s decision; it has since then been taken over by ‘foreign’ (newly-hired) influence.

“We can no longer say what we used to say — that Google was officially using patents only for defensive purposes or in response to a preemptive attack from other companies.”Google, over time, went from being a patent sceptic to gradually becoming a patent collector. Now, as we feared, Google becomes patent aggressor. Google is gradually becoming a patent bully now, even if it calls itself “Alphabet”, and it’s bad even if the defendant is a company that’s pure evil (as in this case). Even IAM took note of it already; it recalled the BT case which we covered here many times before as follows: “The first and really only high-profile patent infringement lawsuit Google has pursued was against BT – and even that was after BT had transferred patents to a third party which had then used them to sue the search giant. Google quickly filed a counter suit against the British telco and the conflict ultimately fizzled out. So, for a Google business to be asserting now is a very big deal indeed.”

There is already a huge trove of news articles about it, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s everywhere. The effect on the competitor was described yesterday as follows:

When Anthony Levandowski loped onto the stage to accept the Hot New Startup award at an industry awards show this month, the trucker hat perched on his head served as a cringeworthy nod to the millions of drivers his self-driving truck company is poised to leave jobless.

Three weeks later, it is the pioneering engineer of self-driving car technology whose job could be in jeopardy, and the lawsuit he is named in could pose an existential threat to an increasingly vulnerable Uber.

We can no longer say what we used to say — that Google was officially using patents only for defensive purposes or in response to a preemptive attack from other companies. Google is turning ever more evil, even when it comes to patents. It’s a very big deal because Google is probably the world’s largest distributor of GNU/Linux (e.g. Android and Chromebooks).

There will, from now on, be less of a track record to guard and thus less of a deterrent against further such actions from Google. Suffice to say, Google has many sofwtare patents now.

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