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Justice Department deepens an investigation whether the Nortel patent bid will be used against Android

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Justice Department deepens an investigation whether the Nortel patent bid will be used against Android
We knew that the Department of Justice launched a probe into the Nortel patent soap opera three weeks ago, but since they let the bidding close Friday, we thought that it's a done deal. It turns out that DoJ notified the parties involved of the probe, but didn't want to be perceived as meddling in what was considered fair bidding among private companies.

The outcome, however, where a quickly thrown-together consortium wisely named Rockstar Bidco outbid Google's "stalking horse" initial sum of $900 million five times, has obviously not been to the Justice Department's antitrust mandate liking. 

While it is true that Google stepped up its lobbying efforts and the amount of money it sets aside to be in good terms with Washington, it is also true that Rockstar Bidco, which paid the record $4.5 billion amount for Nortel's wireless patents, is also one unholy union of cutthroat competitors like Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Sony and others. 

Most of those companies have one thing in common - they have a vested interest into slowing down the Android march for world domination as a mobile operating system. DoJ seems to be probing each of the parties involved further, and will reportedly try to make sure the acquired Nortel patents will be used as a defense mechanism against patent lawsuits, as opposed to piling up on the anti-Android litigation campaign that is in full swing by Apple and Microsoft, which are trying with various success to make Android handset makers like HTC pay license or royalty fees.

Despite the eventual federal help, Google is not sitting still, waiting to be slammed with further lawsuits that might deter handset manufacturers from using Android, or having to rework its mobile operating system in times when the most intense competition the mobile industry has ever seen is in full swing. Google bought more than a 1000 patents from IBM this month for undisclosed amount, in the hope some of them will help fend off the patent litigation onslaught.

source: WSJ (requires subscription)

55 Comments
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posted on 31 Jul 2011, 04:05 2

1. readingthissh1t (Posts: 303; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)


huge f*cking patent war is on our doorsteps.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 04:53 3

2. cheetah2k (Posts: 738; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


It has been already for quite some time now....

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 05:33 4

3. Lwazi_N (Posts: 205; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)


Google really needs to buy more patents. The 1000 IBM patents are a step in the right direction. I am sure their patent lawyers and technical team are looking for more patents to buy. But the likes of Apple and Microsoft already have safes full of patents and they are looking to use them against Android. Microsoft are already benefiting $5 for every Android handset sold. Apple on the other hand just want to ban Android and have the US market to themselves only- which will be kind of difficult. And the more patents Google gets, the more difficult it will be for Apple to keep Android at bay.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 13:50 2

57. NeXoS (Posts: 277; Member since: 03 May 2011)


A lot of Apple's BS patents are based on technology that predates the request of the application. All Apple did was apply for "sample existing technology" and added "-on a mobile device" and create a patent request out of it.

For example, Apple didn't invent multi-touch, but they requested patents for multi-touch "on a mobile device" and the idiots at the PTO gave it to them. Sounds like shading dealings going on at the USPTO.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 05:47 1

4. nyamo (Posts: 274; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)


while apple may want to ban all handsets from US shores. i do believe that that in and of itself would be in conflict with the anti-trust act woud it not? makes sense to me but i'm no guru when it comes to law

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 05:54 2

5. captn3x (unregistered)


the government created this mess when they allowed everything from names to sounds to be patented.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 07:32 2

6. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


I also believe those patents are going to be used to try killing Android and I hope that if that's their plan the department of justice sees through it and stops them from doing so. Google seems to be only interested on getting patents to defend itself rather than attacking others.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 08:05 4

7. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Bawww, Google lost the bid, so now they're whining to the big bad gov't to do something about it. They need to suck it up and accept that they lost instead of ****ing about it. Why don't they spend their efforts improving their glitch filled Android OS instead of whining when they lose bids. It was a fair competition and they need to get over themselves.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 09:09 4

9. jroc74 (Posts: 3985; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Please show where Google asked the DOJ to look into the matter...in this article or elsewhere. I may have missed it...

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 09:12 3

11. jroc74 (Posts: 3985; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


And with their final bid of pi....Google seemed to take it all in stride.

Some of yall are too funny...

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 11:42 4

15. jmo76 (unregistered)


So if android is so horrible, why doesn't apple & microsoft just let it implode on itself. If it is that horrible, people wouldn't buy it after getting that bad taste in their mouth and go to one of their competitors. If that were truly the case apple & microsoft would save a hell of a lot of money that they are currently putting into legal action. Companies don't spend money like this for no reason. Seems to me android might not be as bad as you paint it.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:06 2

20. jmo76 (unregistered)


And by fair competition you mean Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Sony, Ericsson, & EMC vs Google. Yup, sounds fair to me.

I notice your avatar is from professional wrestling. Is your favorite part when the guy betrays his teammate and it ends up with a bunch of guys stomping on a guy that's down. That would seem to explain your stance on these issues.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:55 3

26. twenti7 (Posts: 152; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)


I love how iSheep like to forget how glitchy iOS was for its first three iterations. Android (2.3.4/5) is doing much better than iOS was at this age. While iOS 4 is an excellent os, I have no doubt that, if Ice Cream Sandwich improves as much as it is expected (and is paired with hardware to match), it will greatly surpass iOS 5 in every aspect including speed, smoothness, functionality, ease of use, and overall usability.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:21 2

27. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


iOS has never been glitchy

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:39 2

29. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


proving yet again, you really dont know what your talking about taco.

im sure they just release patches to fix things that arent broken huh? :)

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:47

32. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Actually that would be you who claims Tmo has the fastest 4G. I found a website you may enjoy.

Www.phandroid.com

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 15:38 2

45. G-Reg (unregistered)


Im just goin to start troll bashing as a hobby. (becomeing a troll in the process, ik)

Does anyone want to start guessing the age of ms. taco?

The way she avoided the patch reality by remix was almost artful.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 15:03 2

44. jroc74 (Posts: 3985; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Spoken like a true fanboy...

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 08:26 4

8. Mrdowntown (unregistered)


Stop your whining folks. Free ain't Free No longer. Google ripping off IP has come to an end. Thank you Steve Jobs.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 09:09 6

10. AppleFUD (unregistered)


WOW! That's about as hypocritical as it gets. Apparently you know nothing about Steve Jobs. He's all for stealing other people's ideas, IP, tech, etc. Even admitted it back in the 80's. They've gotten away with a lot of it but also lost a lot of court cases where they obviously stole tech from small companies. The only thing Jobs is good at is convincing idiots like yourself that Apple actually invented/innovated anything. . . obviously whatever he is doing works because we have comments like yours.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 09:32 1

12. joseg81 (Posts: 154; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


it's cuz all those apple users drink the damn kool-aid. they follow blindly like sheep whatever their master tells them to do or buy.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 09:52 1

13. Heatfan316 (unregistered)


I laugh at your comment it's so stupid they'll never stop google their to powerful now. Also I think you should go wipe your nose it's kind of brown,ass kisser you think Steve Jobs cares about you.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 03:15

54. Stuntman (Posts: 669; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


If Apple actually makes a product I like, I'd buy an Apple product. Now that I and a whole bunch of others find Android products better for them, instead of actually trying to make a product we like more than Android, they decide to sue them to make me not want to buy Android products.

As a business, they have to do everything the can to make money. As a consumer who liked a competing product more and bought one, I feel like Apple is screwing me over indirectly for not buying an Apple product. Instead of trying to win me over by innovating, they decided to try litigating.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 11:14 3

14. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I honestly think google will take a big hit. It's not just Apple trying to protect themselves from these guys.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 11:48 3

16. Whateverman (Posts: 3159; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Google may have to pay some fees, but I don't think Google is just copying any and every patent that everyone else owns. If they were copying from all of these companies, they would use their own patents instead of buying Nortel's patents.

I think this article hit the nail on the head, they are trying to slow the success of Android by any means possible, but they're going about it all wrong. Here what something interesting I found on another site explaining why the DoJ got involved.

** A summary on the FTC’s anti-trust website of this prohibition in the Sherman Act states that “…certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal. These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids.”

Those who contravene this rule can be subject to criminal prosecution by the DoJ: “Criminal prosecutions are typically limited to intentional and clear violations such as when competitors fix prices or rig bids.”

The guidance on the FTC website explains that “Bid rigging can take many forms, but one frequent form is when competitors agree in advance which firm will win the bid. For instance, competitors may agree to take turns being the low bidder, or sit out of a bidding round, or provide unacceptable bids to cover up a bid-rigging scheme. Other bid-rigging agreements involve subcontracting part of the main contract to the losing bidders, or forming a joint venture to submit a single bid.”

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:48 1

22. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Apple isn't nearly big enough to harm competition. Even if android were completely removed from the market there still lots of competition. Googles strategy of taking ip without consent is finally backfiring and the other companies are fighting back. I think this will result in manufacturers picking other OS's like windows 7(which I think is a better OS than android).

Things will even out much more between the big 4 (android, rim, window Apple).

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:46 1

30. Immolate (Posts: 249; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)


Big four? Rim and Windows? That's like me saying I'm one of the richest hundred million people in the US.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:49

34. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Rim is only second to Apple in the US so yea they're part of the big 4.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:46 3

31. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


so, taco. If Android was out of the marketplace, who would be number 1 in the market? Would one company have complete dominance over the others? Would WP7 skyrocket in sales immediately following the destruction of android as the "iOS alternative"? Would palm actually gain some market? (ok maybe not.. lol)

If apple is the "largest" handset maker and the most profitable, who is bigger than them?

Your such a blind iFollower you dont care. You think that somehow this is a good thing. What would iOS5 be without Android around? Do you really think apple would continue its faster than normal paced innovation if they didnt have someone taking their market share? The first 3 iphones were nearly identical with only minor differences. Only the 4th one took a leap at all. And that was in responce to android, not in responce to itself or MS or Palm.


Competition is great for everyone, no matter which side of the isle you sit on. Dont be such a blind fanboy. Companies need to compete in the market for our money, not in the courts for market
share.

If all these companies are working together to buy patents important to Android that means that they know they are at a severe disadvantage. Instead of figuring out new features to compete they are trying to take out androids leg ala Nancy Kerrigan. But just like ol Nancy got back up and became a bigger star than she was.. so will Android. People dont like bullies. You make Android look like the victim of group bullying and you will make more people flock to Android in responce.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:50 1

35. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Google competes by stealing ideas they don't innovate so they deserve to get sued.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 14:50 2

42. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


And Apple doesn't, Taco? Even if Google has literally created nothing original for Android, Apple is not a shining star of originality either. Even Jobs admitted ON VIDEO in 1994 that Apple lives by the saying "good artists borrow, great artists steal." But when Apple is sued, to you it's just "part of the business."

So far the only notion being entertained by anyone is that Google possibly infringed on two of Apple's (nonspecific) patents. And obviously Apple, Microsoft and RIM didn't create a damn thing that they bought off of Nortel. When they saw Google trying to buy the Nortel patents (which had the specific goal of making sure that they WEREN'T infringing) they all attacked, very clearly breaking anti trust laws in order to patent troll Google.

That isn't "protecting their IP." That is a deliberate offensive act with the explicit goal of attacking Google and forcing Android out of the market.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 11:57 1

17. jmo76 (unregistered)


Apple is one of the guys that bought into the patents. Are they trying to protect Apple from Apple?

You always say that Apple is the one always getting sued. But if you look, Apple has never been sued first by anyone of the Android manufacturers or Google. They have been sued by Personal Audio, Kodak, & Nokia. But the only time HTC, Moto, & Samsung has brought legal action against Apple is in the form of a countersuit. And if you look at the cases where legal action was brought against Apple first, they were found guilty.

Am I saying that Android doesn't copy? No, because I don't know and neither does anyone else unless they are employed by said companies. What I am saying is that Apple is not innocent either.

Now if they want a settlement or something like that, that's ok with me. If they are found guilty either have the guilty party change it so they are not infringing, or pay restitution for it. But banning your competitors out of competition is not ok with me. That brings up antitrust issues, and all of the companies in this (Microsoft, Apple, & Google) have all been accused of antitrust.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:48

23. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Exactly Apple gets sued just like everyone else. It's part of the business.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:49 2

33. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


the point he was making is that non cell phone companies were suing apple (as well as nokia). and apple was found guilty every time. Other cell companies werent suing apple. Apple started suing everyone to scare them. And apple is only suing major android makers.
Your so naive.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:51 1

37. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


So you think companies shouldn't be allowed to protect their innovations?

You're the naive one, but I understand you better now that I know you're a Bush supporter. Using logic with you is senseless.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 11:58 5

18. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Android will survive. It has to.

RIM and Microsoft were willing to keep half assing their way on other carriers, only throwing out the same OS on touchscreen smartphones in response to Apple until Android came along. Now suddenly there was another "cool" operating system that was now available on ALL of the carriers, even AT&T eventually. And with its constant improvements, it soon offered more than Windows Mobile or Blackberry. In Blackberry's case Android showcased how tired Blackberry had become and destroyed its dominance on Verizon Wireless, and in Windows Mobile's case Android took the interest of all of the prime WM manufacturers. And of course now Android is ahead of iOS in smartphone market share, and accelerating in the tablet field as well.

Now the only way to stop the Android Alliance is to use government force against it. Apple is leading the way, and now Microsoft and RIM are choosing to miss the point of a free market as well.

But of course, with the government defaulting on the trillions of dollars it owes to everyone, we might not have to worry about this much longer.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:04 3

19. orangemaze (unregistered)


I think it is funny that M$FT and iPoop are suing google for stealing. A previous poster is quite right. Both of those companies have stolen so much from other companies. I think Xerox, Sybase, IBM, Stacker along with a ton of other companies are laughing as well, as they all had ideas that were stolen. 'The Pirates of Silicone Valley' while not entirely true is a very interesting article.

Furthermore, neither M$FT and iPoop have NEVER created anything original. Think back to 1999 when the first smartphone was released by Handspring - the VisorPhone. In which Apple stole the UI from in ters of icon layout.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:50 1

24. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Micrsoft and Apple have never created anything original. You're obviously a fanboy and can't be taken seriously.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:14 2

21. Moo (unregistered)


Fear of Android continues

If Apple's stuff so good why so much concern

Prove your stuff is better no tricks no distractions

Maybe it is not and they know it

Let the people decide

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:50

25. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


The people do decide Apple as can be seen by their amazing sales numbers.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:51 1

36. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


amazing sales numbers for 2 phones.. 2nd place sales by double for the OS. So if apple is amazing, google is double amazing. 18% for iOS to 40% for Android. :)

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:53 1

38. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


You're numbers are wrong as usual. In smartphones Apple has 28% not 18%. iOS has a bigger market share than android. You don't even know the difference between smartphones and OS. Did you know android isn't a smartphone?

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 14:01 1

40. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


http://macdailynews.com/2011/05/03/apples-ios-doubles-worldwide-market-share-over-past-10-months-now-worlds-3-os/


iOS ahead 3-1.

Android doesn't have sales numbers by the way manufacturers do. Apple is the # smartphone manufacturer after just 4 years.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 14:53 1

43. Whateverman (Posts: 3159; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Not sure if we are reading that article in the same way, but what it said is if you add all the devices using iOS, Apple would be the third most popular OS. We're talking about phones here, not tablets, computers or mp3 plyers. Just phones. So the "3-1" statistic you are referring to has nothing to do with this.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 16:03 1

46. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


If we compare os to os then we should compare the entire os. Android doesn't make phones or sell them either. If we want to compare smartphones only then we have to make a fair comparison there which is manufacturer to manufacturer. Comparing android to iOS and leaving out a large percentage of iOS devices is nonsensical.

Google gives android away for free to multiple manufacturers so they can increase the devices they can advertise on. Apple isn't an advertising company so they don't even compete with android directly.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 16:45 2

47. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


It seems, Taco, that your definition of fair is any measurement which makes it seem like iOS is coming out on top. In the smartphone market, Apple is winning as a manufacturer, but Google is winning by OS. And soon, Apple won't even be winning as a manufacturer anymore, what with Samsung's smartphone sales neck and neck with it and HTC charging toward those numbers like a freight train.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 21:00 2

48. Whateverman (Posts: 3159; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Lol! You noticed that too huh? Any comparison, surevey, or count that doesn't show Apple, iphone, or ios being number one must be inaccurate. Its okay if Apple comes in second third, or fourth on some things.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 23:49 1

51. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Actually it's quite the opposite you guys only want to make comparisons where android wins. Why else would you compare 50 handest from multiple manufacturers to two handsets on one? It's not a logical comparison.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 06:40 1

56. Sniggly (Posts: 6495; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


It's absolutely a logical comparison, because it's a comparison of OSes in a particular market- in this case, the smartphone market.

What you're saying is as illogical as saying that you can't add all computers sold by manufacturers together in order to show that Windows is beating out Mac OS X by tens of percentage points in the desktop and laptop department.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:36 1

28. Moo (unregistered)


Then why the fear?

People are activating more and more Android

Ios is boring

Tech is behind regardless of new iphone 5

New?

Maybe for apple customers

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 14:00 1

39. Immolate (Posts: 249; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)


This Justice Department is corrupt and can't be trusted to act on behalf of the American people. Every decision they make is politically motivated and the only thing you can really depend on is that somewhere down the line, We the People are going to get screwed. Will Justice pick Apple or Android to win? Even if they pick your favorite, is that what you want? Shouldn't it be We the People who know better than anyone which product we'd like to spend our hand-earned money on that get to pick the winners and losers in the marketplace?

Look, I'm not opposed to companies trying to honestly protect their intellectual property, but that isn't what this is about. This is about the cynical game playing of a ruthless company who will use any mean necessary, no matter how crooked, to deal with a successful competitor. Are any of you old enough to remember the grim, corporate-controlled world of Cyberpunk? That is what Apple has become now that they finally have had the taste of market dominance on their tongue. They used to be the spunky little resistance fighter. But too often, when the resistance wins, they turn out much worse than those they replaced.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 14:38 1

41. Moo (unregistered)


1984?

Big brother = Apple

You will buy it or else

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 21:30

49. Caleb De Leon (unregistered)


I like Google's grey thing at the top. That's all that matters.

Did you notice that the two 'g's in Google are different colours as well?

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 22:33 1

50. Tired of this crap (unregistered)


I'm so sick of this patent war crap. Its only used for 2 main things, make fast money or slow/destroy the competition. The sad thing is the latter is done mainly when the competition has been a formidable opponent.

Its like two guys running a race and as one guy pulls ahead, takes the lead and looks to be able to win, the slower competition pulls out a gun and shoots the lead guy in the back of the head so he can win, and the judges of the race just look and say "he shot him fair and square". Its bull.

A majority of these patents are simple ideas like moving content on a screen by moving your finger up or down. Its not rocket science. At some point, when a technology becomes so common place, it almost seems the patent should become public domain and anyone should be allowed to use it.

At this point, I almost wouldn't be surprised if I received a letter from a big company stating my product running a particular OS was in violation of their patent and wanted money from me as the end user. It looks to be getting that bad.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 03:35

55. Giorgio77 (unregistered)


Why really why need to answer the stupidity of Mr taco guy. All you need to do is the following ignore taco paco what ever he's name is come an I have iphone4 but why I mean why I needs to make love to it and treated like god shame how people are creazy about something that cost them money get a life just joking please keep at it I really enjoy how you guys insolte each others free entertainment only phone arena bring the fun to the internet

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