Android’s Next Patent Challenge Comes From NokiaBy: Zach Walton - June 1, 2012
Nokia could be considered the grandfather to the modern cellphone. The company obviously owns a lot of patents and receives royalties from those who make smartphones. Heck, patent royalties net Nokia €8 per every iPhone sold. Now they want a little something out of Android.
After just coming off of a patent lawsuit win over Oracle on software patents, Google now has to contend with Nokia on a trickier subject – hardware patents. According to Reuters, Google apparently thinks Nokia is in cahoots with Microsoft to knock its Android business down a peg.
Nokia is having none of it, however, by saying that Google’s “suggestion” is “wrong.” How is Google wrong? Nokia says that both themselves and Microsoft are different companies with different portfolios and strategies. That being said, Nokia was quick to point out that Android did infringe on several Nokia patents.
I could take Nokia at their word if it wasn’t for the fact that they are so intertwined with Microsoft at the moment. As you most likely know, Nokia is Microsoft’s strongest partner in pushing the Windows Phone 7 operating system. The Nokia Lumia 900, which runs Windows Phone 7, was even touted by Siri as being the best smartphone on the market.
It’s up to the courts to decide whether or not Microsoft and Nokia are trying to double-team Google, but it does seem awfully coincidental. This on top of reports that both companies transferred over 1,000 patents over to a well-known patent troll just reeks of everybody’s favorite waste of court resources – patent lawsuits.
Google isn’t the first company working with Android that Nokia has targeted. Earlier this month, the company filed suit against RIM, HTC and ViewSonic over their respective products. The patents that Nokia claimed these companies infringed include such basic smartphone features including app stores, multitasking and dynamic menus. It almost seems like Nokia just owns patents on what makes a cell phone, well, a cell phone.
Maybe Nokia should patent its phone use as a hammer. It could then target HTC’s newest product, the HTC One X, over its ability to perform as a hammer as well. I’m all for protecting property rights when people legitimately copy a company’s hard work, but the above example should help illustrate just how ridiculous these patent lawsuits can get.
We’ll keep following this latest attack on Android. Nokia has a better chance of winning than Oracle ever did, so it will be interesting to watch. We may eventually see Google paying out €8 per device that licenses Android technology.