British Telecom Sues Google For Billions

BT has filed suit against Android creator in Google in a Delaware court for billions in damages. British Telecom, which is better known in the UK as a peddler of mediocre telephone and internet services, claims that Android infringes on their patents related to location-based services related to navigation and guidance as well as personalised access to content, e.g. offering a mobile client a lower quality video stream based on detecting whether they are on a cellular network or a wireless network. The infringing sections of Android named in the suit are Google Maps, Google Music, the Android marketplace and location-based ads.

British Telecom

This seems to be a rather opportunistic and strategic move for the British ISP, as they haven’t (yet) begun moves against other large players who doubtlessly are equally infringing upon the same patents — players like Apple, RIM and Microsoft. Instead, they join five other large players in legal action against Google, including Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, eBay and Gemalto (an internet security firm).

Settled litigation against handset manufacturers HTC and Samsung have led them to pay a license fee for each handset sold, so BT may be looking to get a piece of that pie from Google. It’s a big one too — recent estimates put Android at 40% of the mobile OS market, including 40 million Android phones sold per quarter and 500,000 new Android activations per day.

The last time BT played the litigation game, it was on similarly broad infringement: In 2000, they tried to claim from ISP Prodigy on a patent of the hyperlink. As you might guess from the continued existence of the Internet, that venture ended in failure for BT.

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