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Google sues BT claiming patent infringement

Returns a favour two years later
Thu Feb 14 2013, 12:01
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INTERNET SERVICES GIANT Google has filed a lawsuit against BT, alleging that the UK telecoms operator is infringing patents relating to voice over IP (VoIP) and networking.

BT filed a lawsuit against Google in 2011 claiming that the internet search and service firm infringed six of its patents. Now Google has returned the favour by filing lawsuits in both US and UK courts claiming that BT infringes four of its patents relating to VoIP and networking technologies.

BT's patent infringement claims against Google relate to Android, Gmail and Google Maps, with the lawsuit yet to see the inside of a courtroom. Google's reciprocal lawsuit is almost standard procedure and might be seen as a first step in trying to negotiate an out of court settlement.

Google's patent infringement claims against BT relate to at least one patent it bought from IBM in 2010. Google has been building up its patent portfolio in recent years and it is believed that the firm paid $12.5bn for Motorola Mobility mostly for its 16,000 patents rather than the firm's ailing smartphone business.

BT holds a large number of patents, perhaps most famously its patent on hyperlinks, which it tried and failed to enforce over a decade ago. The UK telecoms firm must be hoping that its latest patent assertions will hold up better than its widely ridiculed hyperlink patent assertion in 2000. µ


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