UK telecom company British Telecom (BT) has filed a lawsuit claiming that pretty much all of Google’s products and services infringe on one of six patents owned by the communications giant. From the information that has surfaced, it seems that BT just might have a case against Google.
BT is a very large communications company, providing services in over 170 countries. The company generated a large number of patents in both the 80s and 90s, with the total number coming in over 10,000.
The company is claiming that Google is infringing on six total patents in this suit and it seems that they may have a case. Most of the language in these six patents is incredibly broad and generic. One example is patent 6,397,040, describing services that use your location to provide a list of options or sources. This is something Google does constantly with their location based search services.
Foss Patents details all six patents that BT has listed. BT is claiming “ongoing and pervasive” patent infringement because they feel Google’s services and products (like Android) have continually infringed on the six patents.
From the language in these patents it seems that other companies could easily be the target of a similar suit. One good example is the “Busuioc Patent” which discusses ways in which a device can detect the type of network it is connected to and adjust data streaming accordingly. In theory, this would apply to Apple as well as Google, but currently BT isn’t pursuing a suit against Apple.
It would stand to reason that if BT was successful against Google they could shift their focus over to Apple. If the telecom company has any legal success, they could be due billions in royalties. Considering the language of these patents this case is definitely worth keeping track of.