Itâ€™s sad to see that the united States has become such a litigious society that Google has had to bid $900 million for patents it may never use.
As Larry Page takes over the reins from Eric Schmidt as CEO, one of his first acts is to oversee this huge bid, which could rise even higher in the Nortel Networks bankruptcy auction. The reason for the bid is that Google is consistently beseiged by dozens of patent infringement suits from all manner of companies - both large and small. Another reason why Google is bidding is because it is worried that the patents could fall into the hands of some rival, such as Apple, which could end up costing a lot more than $900 million.
In a blog post, Kent Walker, a senior vice president and general counsel at Google, said: â€œOne of a companyâ€™s best defences against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services.â€ Walker went on to say that Google was a relatively young company and so held fewer patents that its rivals. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, It holds 630 patents compared to Appleâ€™s 3,830 and Microsoftâ€™s 18,000. Nortel owns 6,000 patents of which 2,600 are in the United States. Many of Nortelâ€™s patents are in wireless and telecommunications technologies, as well as other areas important to Google like Internet search and social networking.
Google is of course no stranger to paying out substantial amounts of cash having bought YouTube and DoubleClick for $1.65 billion and $3.1 billion in the past five years. Nortel has chosen the Google bid as the starting point for the auction, which is expected to take place in June. While Google will be hoping to win the bid and end the constant cycle of patent infringement suits it faces, it will ultimately still be hoping for serious patent legislation reform from the US government in the near future.