Google’s legal bill for 2012 is set to be rather high as BT has joined the likes of Apple, Oracle, Microsoft and eBay in suing the search giant.
The telecoms company has filed the lawsuit in the US state of Delaware and claims that Google’s Android mobile operating system infringes a number of their key patents.
The services which infringe these patents include Google Maps, Google Music, location-based advertising and the Android Market. If successful, Google could be forced to pay BT a royalty for every Android handset sold – something the company is already doing with Microsoft.
While the lawsuit has initially been filed in the US, similar proceedings are expected in Europe, where recent rulings could be seen as favourable to BT’s cause.
Google Maps, one of the services BT says infringes its patents.
Independent analyst, Florian Meuller, said: "Android already had more than enough intellectual problems anyway. Now Google faces one more large organisation that believes its rights are infringed. BT probably wants to continue to be able to do business with all mobile device makers and therefore decided to sue Google itself."
BT holds over 10,000 patents according to the filing most of them emerging from research carried out at it Adastral Park centre near Ipswich. One of the patents listed in the lawsuit is related to technology which detects which type of connection (Wi-Fi or 3G) it has and this is something Apple's iPhone and iPad also do (most recently with iTunes Match). It is not known if Apple has licenced the technology from BT or if the British company simply feels Apple is not infringing its patent.
With up to half a million Android handsets being activated every day, any royalties Google would have to pay BT would be very costly indeed.
Source: FOSS Patents