BT has become the latest company to claim that its patents are infringed by Google’s Android operating system. Unlike Apple, which is engaged in a legal dispute with handset-maker HTC, and Microsoft which negotiated a settlement with HTC, BT has issued proceedings against Google.
The lawsuit, issued in the patent-friendly US state of Delaware, claims that Android infringes six patents registered by BT in the 1990s. The patents originate from research work carried out at the company’s Adastral Park research centre near Ipswich.
BT is seeking an injunction and royalties for wilful and deliberate infringement.
In addition to Apple and Microsoft, Oracle and eBay also claim that their patents are infringed by Android.
According to patent expert, Florian Mueller, ‘With so many major patent holders asserting their rights, obligations to pay royalties may force Google to change its Android licensing model and pass royalties on to device makers.’
One of the patents BT alleges that Android infringes relates to a method for detecting whether a wifi network is available in order to determine whether to download music from Google Music. Apple’s iOS devices have a similar feature for downloading media and apps from iTunes. It’s not known whether Apple has licensed BT’s intellectual property or whether BT believes this technology also infringes its patent.