Patent War Heats Up as Microsoft Hurls Zinger at Google

Senior VP and Chief Legal Officer of Google, David Drummond, has sparked a viral catfight by posting a company blog on how Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and others are waging “a hostile, organized campaign against Android.”

Google accuses its competitors of purchasing bogus patents making it more difficult for manufacturers to sell Android devices, and exposing Google to lawsuits for patent infringement.

Drummond argues that key rivals in the smart-phone market, Apple and Microsoft, have teamed up to obtain major patent portfolios from Novell and Nortel in order to keep them from Google.

Drummond has criticized the other companies saying: “Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.”

Microsoft promptly fired back refuting Google’s claims, most notably with tweets from Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and Microsoft Head of Communications Frank Shaw.

Smith and Shaw responded that Microsoft had offered to join with Google to bid on the patents from Novell, but Google had declined the offer.

In an updated blog today Drummond responded: “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.”

Google has said it will pursue ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening its own patents.

Google feels its claims of victimization in a patent-war are reaffirmed, as the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) ultimately intervened.

The DoJ forced Microsoft, Oracle, and Apple to sell the patents to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community.”

Many recognize that the patent-war that has heated up between Google and Microsoft only highlights larger issues with the U.S. patent system.

“Google is one of the world’s largest and most prominent victims of our innovation-taxing patent system, so lobbying for better patent laws seems like an obvious way to fight back,” writes Timothy Lee of Forbes.

Lee added, “A far-ranging debate about the merits of software patents in general- rather than the validity of the particular software patents Google allegedly infringes- would be in Google’s interest.”