Google Sued by British Telecom over Patent Infringement


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British Telecommunications has filed suit against Google over alleged infringement of BT’s patents. The complaint, filed in US Disctrict Court in Delaware, maintains that Google has committed “ongoing and pervasive infringement of BT patents.” British Telecom points to several of Google’s products and services as instances of infringement, including some features of Android, and several non-Android services.

For example, the suit alleges that both Android and Google Music infringe a patent “directed to systems and methods for accessing content in a mobile environment.” Another patent concerns “a navigation system which includes a fixed part and at least one mobile part to provide guidance information to a user,” and is allegedly infringed by Google Maps. British Telecom argues that Google has derived “substantial value from these products and services,” and that it is attempting “to recover the just compensation it is owed and to prevent Google from continuing to benefit from BT’s inventions without authorization.”

The complaint asks the court to grant a judgment against Google for infringement, and an injunction against Google preventing its “continued infringement.” The complaint also asks for damages “no less than a reasonable royalty, together with pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest,” as well as triple damages due to the fact that Google’s infringement is “willful and deliberate.”

Thus far British Telecom has only filed suit in the US. There is no word on whether they plan to file additional suits elsewhere. Several European courts have shown a tendency to side with patent holders of late. Most notably in the Apple-Samsung battle, where German courts have issued an injunction banning the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. Apple has thus far failed to get such an injunction in the US, and a similar injunction in Australia was recently overturned.

When asked for comment, a Google spokesperson said, “We believe these claims are groundless and we will vigorously defend ourselves against them.” A request for comment from British Telecom has not yet been answered.

UPDATE: British Telecom has responded, and they have this to say: “BT’s constant investment in innovation has seen it develop a large portfolio of patents which are valuable corporate assets. This is about protecting BT’s investment in its intellectual property rights and innovation. It is a well-considered claim and we believe there is a strong case of infringement.”

[Hat Tip: FOSS Patents]