Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

Summary: A Google executive says the company has "several options" the company can take to "help protect the values of Android."

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John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships at Google, said the company can work with its partners to protect the values of Android and fend off patent lawsuits.

Lagerling, speaking at a Pacific Crest investment conference, addressed the patent issue on a day where the topic was front and center. Google last week blasted Apple and Microsoft for leading a consortium that won Nortel's mobile patent portfolio. Tech insiders have been going back and forth about Google's response ever since. Meanwhile, Google's court sparring over Android with Oracle looks like it may be backfiring a bit.

Also see: Software patents: Lots of whining, but reform unlikely

Here's what Lagerling said:

Without going into too much detail, I do think that we have very strong paths that we can take to protect the values of Android that we have built through the open-source Apache 2 license with our partners. Obviously, Google doesn't build -- we don't build phones and devices, but we had a vested interest in protecting the values of the Android ecosystem.

So when our partners are being attacked by aggressors, which we see as materially unfounded, it's something that we join up together with our partners to resolve. And we have, I think, several options that we can take that will help protect the values of Android.

So again, we want to protect innovation. Patents were supposed to be there to enable innovation and monetization of innovation. When it's being used in a prospective which is more to, as we see it, stifle innovation, it's not something that is good for consumers.

Android is the only operating system, modern smart-phone operating system, that exists on devices that cost $200 or less. That is what is enabling the next billion of users of the Internet on mobile in the world. There might be players that are not so excited to see the margins and the prices go down like that and the variety that Android enables, but I think we are very convinced that we will be able to continue and create and protect the value of Android.

The big question is how Google will be able to protect those Android values and what tools the company has at its disposal.

See also:

Topics: Android, CXO, Emerging Tech, Google

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42 comments
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  • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

    Yeah, here's a way - remove the infringing code. ;)
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • License the infringing designs.

      @Cylon Centurion

      Companies like Apple and MS pay millions to licence tech. Why should Google get a free pass?
      Bruizer
      • re: License the infringing designs.

        @Bruizer <br><br><i>"...<strong>like Apple</strong> ... pay millions to licence tech."</i><br>Pisst.<br> FYI: <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/apple-hit-with-lawsuit-over-os-x-fast-booting/14099?tag=mantle_skin;content" target="_blank"><i><strong>Apple didn't pay</strong></i> millions for the fast boot patent.</a> eh?<br><br><i>"<strong>This patent</strong>, currently owned by a Florida-based company calling itself Operating Systems Solutions, LCC, was once owned by LG Electronics back in 1999."</i><br><br>PS. Google <a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hating" target="_blank">hating</a>? I personally think that's a waste of energy.
        Return_of_the_jedi
      • @Return_of_the_jedi: I it infringing?

        It calls out BIOS (Macs do not have one), autoexec.bat (OS X does not use one), and config.sys (again OS X does not use one.

        Nice attempt: FAIL!!!
        Bruizer
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @Bruizer <br><br><i>"Nice attempt: FAIL!!!"</i><br><br>I didn't claim to be the judge or jury. I'll leave that up to you.<br>It won't be settled on Zdnet's blog today, that's for sure.<br><br>Have a good day.<br><br>PS. I hope Google doesn't "P" in your cereal tomorrow morning.
        Return_of_the_jedi
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @Bruizer

        The patent uses those files as examples of auto configuration scripts. The relevant files in a POSIX distribution such as BSD would be init scripts and their configuration files.

        EFI or BIOS would still be covered by the patent, since they perform similar tasks and patents cover ideas not implementations.

        OSS LLC can simply argue that while terminology and implementation has changed, the intent and claims of the patent are still clear.

        Nice attempt: FAIL!!!
        hospitaler
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @Bruizer

        The allegations facing Google haven't been validated by the legal system as Florian Mueller is a self-proclaimed scholar on the subject. Especially Oracle. Depsite Mueller's incomplete reporting, you are free to hate on Google as much as you like.

        Google does win some of their battles. Just ask Viacom how the initial round went...
        DonRupertBitByte
    • Yes, but...

      @Cylon Centurion <br>...the identity of the patents supposedly infringed and how they are supposed to infringe are confidential trade secrets of MS (at least we know that Oracle's claims relate to Java). If Google actually figured out what they were, MS could sue them for industrial espionage.

      Reply to chipbeef--

      I was being sarcastic, of course. However, MS has a history of making public accusations of patent infringement without publicly disclosing the patents allegedly violated. Apparently they got the idea from SCO (yes, I know that SCO was alleging copyright infringement; the strategy is essentially the same, nevertheless).
      John L. Ries
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @John L. Ries - I disagree. As I under stand it, trade secrets lose their value if someone else figures out the secret. That's what NDAs are for - to keep those who know from blabbing.

        I can't see how Google would be liable for independently figuring out the same secret. Perhaps if a causality that they undertook efforts to ferret out the secret, but not for independent discovery.
        chipbeef
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @Chip Beef - You're on the right track. You can keep the design and theory a trade secret and avoid disclosure but then you don't get any protection for it, or you can disclose in a patent and enjoy patent protection but also everyone knows how it works. That's the theory. Patents exist for the express purpose of encouraging disclosure and allowing others to build and innovate on top of your invention. If you aren't willing to see that happen, you don't get a patent.
        hospitaler
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @John L. Ries
        The patents Microsoft has been using in their cases against Android manufacturers are not trade secrect as those patent are clearly lisated in several lawsuits like those against Motorola and B&N.
        IE11
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @John L. Ries

        If it's covered by a patent, then the patent, along with all the information necessary to reduce the patent to practice, is fully described inside a document that is part of the public domain. Hence, by definition, it cannot be a trade secret.
        lfmorrison
    • Look at the actual patents...

      @Cylon Centurion

      Microsoft has a patent on double clicking.
      Apple has a patent (Patent 5,946,647) on recognizing and manipulating data structures in data (Like hyperlinks, or, heck, your OS's file allocation table).
      Also has Patent 6,343,263 on all devices that do real time signal processing. Like talking to cell towers.

      A lot of these patents are just ridiculous. Without violating them, you couldn't make a browser, a cell phone, or coffee, most likely.

      As for the Oracle lawsiut... Remove Java from Android, and you don't have much user facing code left.
      ChickenLiver
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @ChickenLiver There is no Java in Android. Developers write programs in Java (a completely open sourced and free to use language), which is then compiled by the Dalvik cross compiler into byte code compatible with the android system. There is no Java code on an Android phone, there are no Java libraries, and there is no Java VM.
        hospitaler
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @ChickenLiver Completely agree, it would nearly be impossible these days to make a program and not be infringing some way.

        Ofcourse not all are bad,
        Frenz9
    • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

      @Cylon Centurion guess it'll work

      <a href=http://q.gs/KHg0>Awesome physics game</a>
      christajoe
    • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

      @Cylon Centurion They would if there actually was any. But thanks to morons like this judge - and most US judges - they'll end up removing code that doesn't even belong to Larry Putz Ellison.
      blueskip
  • What are &quot;the values of Android?&quot;

    Clearly, to Google, the value of Android is locking users into GMail and its other services, perpetuating its monopoly. At the same time, it wants to make money on them by compiling dossiers on them and spying on them via its various services and Web sites. Valuable to Google, but not to the rest of us.
    Anne Nonymous
    • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

      @Anne Nonymous - Define "locking users into Gmail"? You mean providing Gmail as an option? I know plenty of people who don't use Gmail but have and use an Android phone.
      BIGELLOW
      • RE: Google: 'We can protect the values of Android'

        @BIGELLOW
        But the reality is that it is in the interest of the company (Google, Apple, MS, RIM, whomever) to lock you into their eco-system.
        Wakemewhentrollsgone