Google Chief Legal Officer accuses Microsoft of lying on patent bid dispute

“Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond updated his criticism of the Nortel and Novell patent bid to rebuff Microsoft’s claims that it had thrown out a chance at patents by turning down an invitation to the Novell bid,” Electronista reports.

“He accused Microsoft of diversionary tactics and said that the offer to join on Novell was an effective trap,” Electronista reports. “If Google had joined the group, it couldn’t use those patents to defend itself or others from anti-Android lawsuits, the very goal Microsoft wanted to achieve by bidding in the first place. ‘A joint acquisition of the Novell patents that gave all parties a license would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners,’ Drummond wrote. ‘Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android — and having us pay for the privilege — must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn’t fall for it.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Drummond’s statement reads, verbatim:

It’s not surprising that Microsoft would want to divert attention by pushing a false “gotcha!” while failing to address the substance of the issues we raised. If you think about it, it’s obvious why we turned down Microsoft’s offer. Microsoft’s objective has been to keep from Google and Android device-makers any patents that might be used to defend against their attacks. A joint acquisition of the Novell patents that gave all parties a license would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners. Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android — and having us pay for the privilege — must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn’t fall for it.

Ultimately, the U.S. Department of Justice intervened, forcing Microsoft to sell the patents it bought and demanding that the winning group (Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, EMC) give a license to the open-source community, changes the DoJ said were “necessary to protect competition and innovation in the open source software community.” This only reaffirms our point: Our competitors are waging a patent war on Android and working together to keep us from getting patents that would help balance the scales. – David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

 

Related articles:
Why Google lashed out at Apple and Microsoft over patents: Android is in deep trouble and its top lawyer knows it – August 4, 2011
Microsoft: Google turned down chance to join in Novell patent bid – August 4, 2011
Google legal honcho: Apple, Oracle, Microsoft use ‘bogus patents’ to wage hostile campaign against sainted Android – August 3, 2011

45 Comments

    1. I have a feeling, he just acted as a mouthpiece for Larry Page. First off, you can’t just write a blog, in an official capacity for Google, on something of this importance and media spotlight glaring bright, without the CEO’s consent. No legal chief, regardless of however many years/decades at work, is this dumb.

      1. Either way he is out soon, he either did by himself or is a scapegoat for Larry. You know, it is backstabbing culture in google land. I hope google keep this lawyer just like microsoft keep Ballmer.

  1. I think the most interesting point is this excerpt from the direct quote: “Ultimately, the U.S. Department of Justice intervened, forcing Microsoft to sell the patents it bought and demanding that the winning group (Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, EMC) give a license to the open-source community, changes the DoJ said were “necessary to protect competition and innovation in the open source software community.”

    I recall reading the DOJ was looking into this allegation, but have not found anything saying they had made a determination that would effectively nullify the value that the group spent $4.5B on. Sounds like counsel is either engaging in revisionist history, or expressing a hoped for result. Does this mean that DOJ is also going to investigate Google for the IBM patents? Seems like a one-sided view, if not. Probably has something to do with how much money is being paid to lobbiests, instead of for work product

    1. Unless I am also looking in the wrong places, I cannot find anything about DOJ requiring licensing to open source community either. I find articles indicating that any licensing already in place outside of the buying group had to honored, which makes sense. I also found an article saying DOJ was studying whether there were anti-trust issues, particularly as it may affect parties outside of the group (i.e. Goggle). However, it would seem to me that if they find any, the sale would be null and void and I doubt if the Nortel creditors would be happy with that. We have not heard the last of this. But as many have indicated., Google certainly seems to be running scared right now and I think are regretting nor being part of the auction action.

    2. ‘Ultimately, the U.S. Department of Justice intervened, forcing Microsoft to sell the patents it bought and demanding that the winning group (Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, EMC) give a license to the open-source community, changes the DoJ said were “necessary to protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” ‘
      This is pure obfuscation. This condition was applied since the patents concerned were previously available under ‘friendly’ terms to Open Source outfits – effectively maintaining the status quo.
      The Nortel patent portfolio in question were not afaik, ever licensed to the Open Source community on friendly terms and thus the concerns are moot.
      This revisionist guy is history.

  2. As far as I know, the winning Rockstar group never said they weren’t going to license the patents. Of course, licensing means that Google will be paying money to the consortium.

  3. Make no mistake, Google has already decided to fight this in the court of public opinion, with propaganda and false charges to trigger government intervention. They seem to get a free pass on government investigation.

    Does Google have some special relationship with DOJ? Are they generous 0bama contributors? Is there any public repository for such information?

  4. and… when he says… “Our competitors are waging a patent war on Android and working together to keep us from getting patents that would help balance the scales.”

    isn’t it in fact admitting that Android is infringing on the patents in question, and that HTC and their like have been producing phones that don’t have licenses for the technology contained in their hardware?

  5. If i’m reading this correctly, he has basically CONFESSED that Google went ahead and made/bought android knowing it did not have the intellectual property patents to defend it. They made a bid for the nortel patents in an attempt to defend themselves against the lawsuit they KNEW was going to come. They are upset that their plan was foiled by Microsoft and Rockstar who knew what they were up to and outbid them. Wow, Google is really screwed. Then the news comes out that Rubin said they ned to license Java but the Page and Brin said no. What a bunch of dicks. I hope Oracle takes them to the cleaners.

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