Google vs Microsoft spat illustrates patent system frustration

Credit: flickr/cdcoppola

In a Goliath versus Goliath battle, Microsoft sues Google over Android patents, while Google lawyer Tim Porter claims Microsoft lobs lawsuits when their products are losing in the market place.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Google's patent counsel Tim Porter expressed dismay at the current state of the software patent system, but didn't call for the elimination of software patents. Porter points out that there were no software patents during Microsoft's developing years (Microsoft's first patent filing was in 1988).

Of course, Google recently helped their Android partner HTC by selling them some patents to use against Apple in the Android phone wars, so they still play that game. The question is whether the industry in general and these companies in particular would be better off if the system was scrapped. Porter seems to think so, but can't say so outright. Probably because the other lawyers would get upset. But he does slam patent trolls.

Fixing the patent system

With today's sore need of government revenues, why isn't this taxed? I own a house. I pay over 2% of the market value of my house every year for tax. Wouldn't this stop the patent trolls dead in their tracks if each patent was taxed on the value its owner assigns to it?

anubi on

The US courts' and Patent Office's acceptance of software patents was a disaster for innovation. The logical extension is patents for concepts of ON/OFF and YES/NO.

fourputt on

I think we are close to serious patent reform which is going to be good for everyone. Everyone agrees the system is broken and everyone agrees there are insane patents.

jbolden on

Make software patents last, let's say five years or two if you aren't making use of them (patent trolling). Problem solved?

darkowl on

Blasting big companies

Ignore anything Google says about patent law. At this point, they're so big that their interests are violently opposed to small, emerging companies. They want smaller companies to have weaker recourse in intellectual property protection so that Google can buy them for cheaper.

verysillyvalley on

It's getting to be a tiresome rant from Google. As others have said, they need to take a stand one way or the other.

tjhenn on

Isn't Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle ganging up on Google appear to have a criminal element of conspiracy?

concernedlaw on

Blasting the patent system

The only thing worse than a patent is a patent lawyer. What have they done to us. The whole software industry have spent so much on the lawyers that could have contributed towards innovations.

gamoniac on

All theses patents should be removed. Patents are touted as a way to help the little guy keep the big guys at bay while he builds his business. So, no big guys should ever have patents. It's the go

OldMr on

Unfortunately, software patents don't cover implementations like real patents but general ideas that cover all implementations. And that's why they're broken and no one uses them for their intended purpose.

microlith on

Never bet that big successful companies will really upset the status quo. After all, they are the status quo.

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