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19 December 2011, 10:21

Google sued over Android and services by BT

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Android icon British Telecom has brought a patent infringement suit against Google and its Android smartphone and tablet operating system. The suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, seeks up to triple damages for wilful infringement and an injunction. The patents alleged to be infringed in the case are:

  • 6,151,309: a 2000 patent for "service provision system for communications networks"
  • 6,169,515: a 2001 patent for a "Navigation information system"
  • 6,397,040: a 2002 patent for location tracking of users
  • 6,578,079: a 2003 patent for a "communications node for providing network based information service"
  • 6,650,284: a 2003 patent for an "information system" with "a fixed part and a mobile part"
  • 6,826,598: a 2004 patent for "storage and retrieval of location based information in a distributed network of data storage devices"

The patents are relatively broad. BT claims that, for example, the '309 patent is infringed by Google Music and Android adjusting which music service is available dependent on whether the phone is connected by Wi-Fi or cellular network. Google Maps, Search, Places, Offers, Market, Books, Google+ and the company's location-based advertising are also cited as infringing one or more of the patents. It appears that many of the claims, apart from the '309 patent, are related to the provision of Google services to Android devices, rather than addressing any specific feature of the open source operating system.

Florian Mueller, patent observer, notes that this is not the first BT patent that Android has faced in its various legal battles. In July this year at the ITC, Apple asserted a patent on "portable computers" against HTC, a patent which it acquired from BT in 2008.


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