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

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)

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55 Comments

1. readingthissh1t

Posts: 303; Member since: Jul 20, 2011

huge f*cking patent war is on our doorsteps.

2. cheetah2k

Posts: 2271; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

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

3. Lwazi_N

Posts: 205; Member since: Jun 23, 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.

57. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 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.

4. nyamo

Posts: 274; Member since: Mar 19, 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

5. captn3x unregistered

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

6. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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.

7. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 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.

9. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

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

11. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

And with their final bid of pi....Google seemed to take it all in stride. Some of yall are too funny...

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.

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.

26. twenti7

Posts: 152; Member since: Jul 09, 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.

27. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

iOS has never been glitchy

29. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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? :)

32. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

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

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.

44. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Spoken like a true fanboy...

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.

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.

12. joseg81

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 15, 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.

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.

54. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 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.

14. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

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

16. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 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.”

22. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 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).

30. Immolate

Posts: 310; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

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

34. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

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

31. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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.

35. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

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

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