Google Filing Ten Patent Applications Per Day
Published on: 3rd Dec 2013
Although Google has often publicly condemned the patent wars and the filing of spurious software patents it is itself likely to enter the top 10 for new patents this year.
A decade ago, the company filed for just four patents. However, citing data from the U.S. Patent & Trademark office, MIT's Technology Review estimates that Google will file around 1,800 patents this year alone.
The company is filing for patents in its bread-and-butter operations of web search and Android smartphones, but also in exotic technologies such as driverless cars and balloon based internet broadcasters.
Google seemed to start ramping up its patent warchest in 2007, around the time that Steve Jobs made his famous comment that he would patent everything he could in the Apple iPhone, and in the process, sparking off the patent wars that have dominated the smartphone market.
It's estimated that around 250,000 patents are involved in ever smartphone, and it is almost impossible for any one device not to be infringing something. The previous relationship between handset vendors who turned a blind eye to the small issues was broken when Apple entered the market and refused to join the informal club.
Google then paid US$12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility, which has often been seen as a patent acquisition, even though Motorola's patents were not ideal for the smartphone wars.
Google was recently been hit by a potentially huge patent lawsuit by Rockstar -- a consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Sony and EMC -- which beat Google in the battle for Nortel's patent portfolio.
It is now firing off an average of 10 patent applications per working day to the US Patent Office to catch up.
Google still maintains that its actions are defensive.
On the web: Technology Review