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IP, Patent

Google Doesn’t Need Patents, It Has Mister Verhoeven

It’s been suggested that Google possess a somewhat lackluster patent portfolio, amassing less than 600 patents in its 12 year existence.  Even when you count patents added through corporate acquisition, the total is still well under 1000 (and on average, approximates to about 70 a year).  Compare that number with a software company like Microsoft, which has averaged around 500 patents per year in its 35 year existence.

In fact, Google has thus far failed to identify a single patent to use as leverage against Oracle’s aggressive patent assertion.  Earlier this year, Google was “called out” (so to speak) by a FOSS activist as being patently too weak to adequately protect the Android operating system.  Meanwhile, Google is duking it out with the patent office over software for managing doodles, and appears content to hang the developer’s out to dry when it comes to real technology.

But maybe Google’s unofficial motto is, “Patents? We don’t need no stinking patents!” The AmLaw Daily reports:

Google Inc., whose smartphone partners have been targeted in dozens of patent infringement actions in connection with their use of the Android operating system, is nowaccording to sibling publication The Recorder–coming to the aid of those handset manufacturers with a powerful legal weapon: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Charles Verhoeven.

Via Quinn Emanuel’s Verhoeven, Google’s Go-To Patent Litigator, Gets Busy For Droid Makers

According to the article, Verhoeven has appeared on behalf of HTC and Motorola in lawsuits involving Android-powered devices, and Google may be picking up the tab.

While Verhoeven and Google won’t comment specifically, lawyers familiar with the cases speculate that Google is providing Verhoeven’s services under an indemnity agreement reached with its Android partners.

The article also makes reference to Verhoeven’s past success on behalf of Google, implying, I suppose, that Android developer’s have nothing to fear …

Verhoeven’s track record on behalf Google has been impressive. In January 2010, he persuaded a federal jury in Marshall, Texas that Google had not infringed two patents owned by Function Media, which had sued for $600 million in damages. He also helped Google defeat a $128 million patent infringement suit brought by Bright Response in the Eastern District of Texas in August and win two other patent cases last year on summary judgment.

So, there you go …

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