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back to article Google left out of $4.5bn Nortel patent deal

Apple, Microsoft, RIM, EMC, Ericsson and Sony all chipped in to buy the patents, which cover critical 4G and wireless broadband technologies, leaving Google empty handed. The companies announced the purchase last night, with RIM admitting it had thrown $770m in the pot and Ericsson pegging its contribution at $340m. The amounts …

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Devil

Value for the money

4.5Bn can buy more on Capitol Hill than in court.

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You are right...

I might even say 4.5m is more than enough.

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Boffin

...and...

...it can also buy a lot more new technology so there is no need to licence the old stuff.

If I was Google, I'd be creating something new that everyone will want and the others can go play with their worthless patents in a darkened corner somewhere.

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Unhappy

@...and...

The problem is that some patents are so ridiculously broad or vague that they will cover all sorts of things that haven't been developed yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Good point...

...and comes back to my earlier statement on a different thread, "Bloody Americans."

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Goople

If you were Google and did that, you'd found you actually are Apple.

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Value for the money redux

Alternatively, $4.5Bn can buy a *shitload* of lawyers.

Given that an awful lot of tech patents are from the department of the bleeding obvious (a friend I worked with in the US was responsible for a Ford patent that basically says "detect whether a gearbox is broken by knowing the gear ratio and comparing input and output shaft speeds". Or there's another car company who has a patent on cruise control doing closed-loop control by comparing desired speed against actual speed. I mean, FFS?!?!

If Google's answer is that they're not going to play this game, then I'm all in favour. They've got deep enough pockets that they can just say "come on if you think you're hard enough".

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Trollface

Cartel!

"The amounts contributed by the other parties aren't yet known but all will share in the ownership of the patents and, perhaps more importantly, the protection from litigation they offer."

If there were a game like bingo where the first person to observe this kind of thing and shout "cartel" won the round, there'd be just too many winners.

"Patent-watcher Florian Mueller concludes that this means Google isn't serious about Android"

Don't be too concerned: Mueller-watchers concluded a while ago that people don't take him seriously, either, what with the Google tunnel-vision, fancy diagrams and lawsuit voyeurism.

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Silver badge

Knows something about it. . .

"Patent-watcher Florian Mueller concludes that this means Google isn't serious about Android, which seems a little harsh, but it does indicate a limit to the protection that Google is willing to provide."

Florian Mueller seems to really know a lot about this stuff. I have been reading his blog for quite a while and it is excellent. As a side note, a few days ago he referred to Paula Jones, though not by name, as a "notorious propagandist". (See his Jun 27, 2011 post where he dissects one of her posts in detail.)

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Angel

Florian Mueller seems to really know this stuff?

@Turtle: Florian Mueller seems to really know a lot about this stuff. I have been reading his blog for quite a while and it is excellent. As a side note, a few days ago he referred to Paula Jones, though not by name, as a "notorious propagandist". (See his Jun 27, 2011 post where he dissects one of her posts in detail.) ..

"there's one propaganda site out there (with an apparent and long-standing bias in favor of certain companies) that previously wrote: "Oracle Ordered to Reduce Claims Against Google From 132 to 3". That was simply not true" ..

http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/06/reexaminations-of-oracle-patents.html

"Having reviewed the parties’ memoranda regarding the reexamination proceedings and the streamlining of this action, for which counsel are thanked, the Court proposes a three-step process, as below .. Oracle shall select no more than three asserted claims and Google shall select no more than eight prior art references for trial. All others will be forsaken .. IT IS SO ORDERED" ..

http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=2011050505150858

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Silver badge

Take another look...

From Mueller's blog posting, mentioned above:

"This is what the judge wrote right at the start of that 'order':

Having reviewed the parties' memoranda [...], the Court PROPOSED a three-step process, as below. Each side may file a five-page (double spaced, twelve-point Times New Roman font, no footnotes, and no attachments) critique of the TENTATIVE schedule by NOON ON MAY 6, 2011. AFTER TAKING ANY CRITIQUES INTO ACCOUNT THE SCHEDULE WILL BE FINALIZED. [emphasis mine.]

In light of the above, which could hardly be any clearer, one had to be utterly obtuse or, like in this case, a notorious propagandist to claim that Oracle was actually ordered to reduce claims to any particular number. In reality, the final decision on this won't be taken until October."

Mueller then links to his posting of May 23, 2011, entitled "Oracle wins postponement of decision on number of asserted claims until pre-trial conference; judge reserves option of stay pending reexamination" found at http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/05/oracle-wins-postponement-of-decision-on.html .

And here is Mueller's original posting on the subject, from May 6, the day after the Groklaw misinterpretation:

"Oracle strongly opposes judge's proposal for narrowing down claims against Google to 3, instead proposes 21 plus postponement of related decision

Yesterday many media reported on a tentative scheduling order of the judge on the Oracle vs. Google case, according to which Oracle would have to ultimately narrow down the number of patent claims asserted against Google from 132 to 3 in order to arrive at a "triable number" of claims, but most of the reports didn't make it sufficiently clear that it was just a proposal, not a procedural decision per se." ( http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/05/oracle-strongly-opposes-judges-proposal.html )

So tell me again, who understood what the judge wrote, and who didn't?

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Silver badge

Slight correction

The quote from the judge's opinion is actually as follows:

"Having reviewed the parties’ memoranda regarding the reexamination proceedings and the streamlining of this action, for which counsel are thanked, the Court proposes a three-step process, as below. Each side may file a five-page (double spaced, twelve-point Times New Roman font, no footnotes, and no attachments) critique of the tentative schedule by NOON ON MAY 6, 2011. After taking any critiques into account, the schedule will be finalized."

Again note particularly the words "proposes", "tentative", and "will be finalized".

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Anonymous Coward

Read his blog?

Well, if you read around his blog, it's evident he's a paid Microsoft shill.

He's not a lawyer or a developer either, so I'd take his musings with a healthy pinch of salt.

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Silver badge

Oh well of COURSE.

"Well, if you read around his blog, it's evident he's a paid Microsoft shill.

He's not a lawyer or a developer either, so I'd take his musings with a healthy pinch of salt."

Sure, because the fact that someone who reads Mueller's blog would have understood the reality of what the judge wrote, whereas someone who read that also-not-a-lawyer-or-developer Jones would not have understood, well that fact really has no bearing on the situation, right?

(Also news to me is the contention that developers have any particular understanding of the law beyond that of a layman.)

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Joke

Re: Knows something about it. . .

"Florian Mueller seems to really know a lot about this stuff. I have been reading his blog for quite a while and it is excellent."

Reading his blog? With such praise, it sounds like you've been writing it... wait a moment!

("Joke Alert!" needs 50% opacity because it's not necessarily a joke. Maybe FM has mastered the art of referring to himself in the third person under obscure aliases like "Turtle".)

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Terminator

The End

Perhaps finally the administrators will terminate Nortel's sorry existence as there's nothing else to do.. apart from charging those administration fees that is.

btw, it's "Modu" not "Mudo".

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Thumb Down

Florian Mueller concludes that this means Google isn't serious about Android

If he thinks that then I'm sure that Google are in fact betting the farm on it.

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Bronze badge
WTF?

hmmmm wonder what the EU will have to say about this...

smacks of collusion and sneaky underhanded backhanders from Microsoft to enable the other companies to take part in it...

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I'm not concerned about Google not winning these patents...

...but I am concerned that Microsoft and Apple will be owners of these patents. Both of these companies have and currently offensively targeting companies with patent infringement court orders. I can see them both using these on the offensive to attack every Tom, Dick and Harry rather than keeping them for defensive purposes. I really hope Microsoft and Apple prove me wrong, otherwise it'll be a sad day for Android.

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Bronze badge

re:patents...

But then again Ericsson who make Android phones have also bought in (and have a few patents of their own) so I am presuming it would not be in their benefit to see Android destroyed

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Gold badge

Offensively?

Microsoft has always offensively targeted other companies. But it's only once people started targeting Apple with IP allegations that they started being more active in pursuing others.

Nobody is going to just sit there and let themselves be bossed around.

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Google does not make hardware

Therefore isn't it the responsibility of the device manufacturer to ensure it has all the licences.

Android is popular now, and there isn't much of an alternative for most manufacturers.

Also , android runs on lots of things that are not phones - so therefore wont need these 4G patents (you'd think).

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WTF?

I seriously doubt...

that lawsuits will succeed from people who only own 13% of a patent.

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Silver badge

Stupid comment

I presume even now the find detail on the cross licensing of the patents between the members is underway.

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Unhappy

Shame about Modu

It's a shame to see an inoovative company like Modu go under. I saw their products at the GSMA in 2008 (back when Android was nothing but whispers), and theirs were in my opinion the most innovative concepts for mobile phones at the conference.

Granted I have no idea about how well executed the final products were/would have been, but they seemed to be trying to create something genuinely new, which was a bit of a breath of fresh air.

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Angel

Android limited protection?

> Patent-watcher Florian Mueller concludes that this means Google isn't serious about Android, which seems a little harsh, but it does indicate a limit to the protection that Google is willing to provide ..

If this is so then why are people like Microsoft not directly going after Google instead of signing patent protection agreements with Googles customers?

Here's what Groklaw has to say about Florian Mueller

http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20110605163439627

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Silver badge

The Typical Groklaw Pattern Of Behaviour

Well Groklaw has a long history of dismissing people with divergent opinions as astro-turfers and shills, so their opinion on this matter signifies only that they find Mueller's and Microsoft's opinions to be ideologically unacceptable.

It should hardly need to be stated that there is a second, different reason for two opinions to coincide: they could both be the product of a good understanding of the situation.

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Silver badge

The typical pattern of Groklaw behaviour

is to be correct.

The typical pattern of Mueller's articles is to be wrong - every one of his predictions has been found incorrect.

Which takes your thinking on MS ...?

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here's an idea for a patent

I think I will try and register a patent for an office that people can register their ideas with

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Holmes

errr...

too late.... there is an example of prior art...

http://www.uspto.gov/

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just because something already exists...

doesn't mean that they patented it and money cant be made by patenting it your self and then targeting anyone breaching your patent.

or at least it seems that is how the uspto see things

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Happy

No PI

odd, I'd have thought El Reg would have made more of the odd bets Google were making, the last being $3.14159!

More here http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/02/dealtalk-nortel-google-idUSN1E7601QM20110702?feedType=RSS&feedName=marketsNews&rpc=43, now to be fair, the fact that Google did that is just awesome.

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Yuk.

Software patents must die.

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