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February 14, 2013

Google Countersues BT over Patent Infringement and 'Patent Trolls'

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

When it comes to the technology patent wars front, Google has been less active than some of its brethren. (Though Motorola’s (News - Alert) Mobility division, which uses the Android platform, has been engaged in an epic patent battle with Apple for what seems like forever.) Not to be left out entirely, however, the California-based search giant has decided to sue British Telecom (BT (News - Alert)) in both the U.S. and UK. The reasons cited are patent infringement on four patents.

Three of the patents in Google’s suit against BT originated from IBM (News - Alert) – two cover the reservation of system resources for assuring quality of service, and one deals with assigning connection capacity in a multi-tiered data-processing network. A fourth patent, which was originally obtained by Fujitsu (News - Alert), also covers a “gateway for internet telephone,” GigaOM is reporting today.

"We have always seen litigation as a last resort, and we work hard to avoid lawsuits," said a Google spokesperson.

"But BT has brought several meritless patent claims against Google and our customers --  and they've also been arming patent trolls."

Patent trolls" are companies that acquire patents in the hopes that they can later reap big money from large tech firms for infringement claims.

There is precedent behind the legal battle. BT sued Google in 2011 for patent infringement over a number of Google services, including its Android (News - Alert) platform as well as Google maps, music, social networking and its advertising services, including Adwords. That lawsuit remains unresolved, and the two companies have a July court date set for hearings.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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