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British Telecom Drops Patent Bomb On Google

The patent wars continue as British Telecom is claiming billions of dollars in damages from Google. In a lawsuit filed in the United States, BT claims that Google’s Android mobile operating system infringes a number of the telecoms company's key patents.

“The British company's complaints centre on technologies at the core of Google's Android mobile system, search site, and a wide range of other services,” BBC News reports. 

“The lawsuit … relates to six patents which BT says are infringed by the Google Maps, Google Music, location-based advertising and Android Market products on Android,” The Guardian writes. “If successful, the suit could mean that Google or mobile handset makers will have to pay BT royalties on each Android handset in use and which they produce.”

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Google is now fending off lawsuits against Android from six large publicly-traded companies, including BT, Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, eBay and digital security company Gemalto.

“BT is not a mobile technology company per se, but it claims to have invested in mobile technologies and related services, and it believes it has a case against Google,” according to PCWorld.com. “BT maintains a portfolio of around 5600 patents when you combine both pending and awarded ones.”

What’s at stake? The Guardian reminds us that Android is presently the most successful smartphone platform in the world, with its handsets making more than 40% of sales, equating to more than 40 million produced every quarter. Google itself recently boasted that more than 500,000 Android devices are now activated daily.

“This is par for the course in mobile land,” writes AllThingsD. “And patents are the primary motivator in Google’s pending acquisition of Motorola Mobility; supposedly, the 25,000 patents Google would pick up in the deal will help protect it in legal fights just like these. Assuming antitrust regulators sign off on the deal.”

For Google’s part, a representative rejected BT's assertions, telling CNet: "We believe these claims are without merit, and we will defend vigorously against them."

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