Headline of the Week

Speaking of patents, this piece for GigaOm by Jeff John Roberts raised an eyebrow. Headline: “Google Sues to Protect Android Device Makers From Apple-Backed Patent Hell”.

First, it’s Rockstar whom Google is fighting — a consortium backed by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, and others. But given that Apple apparently put up $2.6 billion of the $4.5 billion for the Nortel patents that Rockstar now owns, “Apple-backed” is arguably fair. But “patent hell”? This is simply the U.S. patent system at work. There’s nothing egregious or extraordinary about Rockstar’s lawsuits against Google and Android OEMs.

Then, here’s the opening:

Google has filed a new lawsuit to challenge an Apple-backed consortium known as Rockstar that is using dubious patents to threaten its partners and customers in the mobile device industry.

Nothing in Roberts’s piece even attempts to justify the word “dubious” here. And he fails to address the elephant in the room: Google itself bid over $3 billion for these same patents — $3.14159 billion, to be exact, because Google’s executives and lawyers are such a fun-loving, clever bunch — which suggests that Google doesn’t actually consider these patents the least bit “dubious”.

Thursday, 26 December 2013