Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 15th Aug 2011 12:04 UTC
Google Okay once again I'm breaking my own one-week time-off from OSNews due to, you know, taking a break and being too busy with other things, but this one is big - very big. Also, only the second time in OSNews history we've used the 'breaking'-tag. Google has just announced it is going to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion (more here). While providing Google with a dedicated mobile phone business, it also gives Google ownership of one of the most valuable mobile technology patent portfolios in existence. Update: Responses from the Android ecosystem are positive. HTC: "We welcome the news of today's acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem." Sony Ericsson & LG: "We welcome Google's commitment to defending Android and its partners."
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RE: Comment by shmerl
by lemur2 on Mon 15th Aug 2011 23:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

Now, is Google going to be consistent with claiming that they aren't evil, and granting Motorola's mobile patents as DPL (Defensive Patent License) benefiting all open source communities in general?


Google is already a member of two community patent pools.

WebM has a patent pool, of which Google is the main member:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20056579-264.html

Then there is the OIN patent pool, of which Google is already also a member:

http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/licensees.php

This means that after Google buys MMI, because of the way that these community patent pools operate, all of MMI's relevant patents will become licensed to all other members of those pools. Google won't be able to sue any of them.

It also means that if Microsoft and/or Apple were to join the OIN, Google won't be able to sue them either, and they would also not be able to sue Google.

Patent MAD war over. Everybody would win (except patent lawyers).

Edited 2011-08-15 23:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by TechGeek on Tue 16th Aug 2011 00:11 in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

While I believe you are right on the surface, both Oracle and Google are OIN members. Yet Oracle is suing Google over an open source project. Not really sure how its suppose to work.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by shmerl
by lemur2 on Tue 16th Aug 2011 01:27 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by shmerl"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

While I believe you are right on the surface, both Oracle and Google are OIN members. Yet Oracle is suing Google over an open source project. Not really sure how its suppose to work.


I said all of MMI's relevant patents. I should perhaps have been clearer and said instead "all of MIM's patents relevant to the pool".

In the case of the OIN pool, the pool is for Linux-related patents.

In the case of the WebM pool, the pool is for video codec patents.

A significant number of the MMI patents will be rleated to one or the other of these pools. All such patents will automatically be licensed to all of the members of the relevant pool.

For example, according to Oracle, the Java-related patents at issue are not specific to Linux, and therefore are not relevant to the OIN community pool. Since Java is cross-platform, Oracle are probably right here.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by galvanash on Tue 16th Aug 2011 00:12 in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

This means that after Google buys MMI, because of the way that these community patent pools operate, all of MMI's relevant patents will become licensed to all other members of those pools. Google won't be able to sue any of them.


That is not my understanding. I wish you were right, but my understanding is:

1. The WebM pool is only relevant for patents that are applicable to WebM - MMI certainly may have some patents that fall into that category, but the vast majority are certainly not related to WebM at all.

2. The OIN does not prohibit members from suing each other - that is just not true at all. It prohibits members from filing suit over Linux. Now what exactly that means when boiled down to legalize I'm not entirely sure, but it certainly does not preclude members from suing each other if it is NOT related to Linux.

More importantly, it does not require members to donate any of their patents to the pool - they certainly can if they want to, but they are merely required to license the members of the pool to any patent that is applicable to Linux (which in reality simply means members cannot sue each other over Linux). As such the majority of MMIs patents (which are mostly patents on communication technology) are not relevant.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by shmerl
by elsewhere on Tue 16th Aug 2011 01:17 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by shmerl"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

"This means that after Google buys MMI, because of the way that these community patent pools operate, all of MMI's relevant patents will become licensed to all other members of those pools. Google won't be able to sue any of them.


That is not my understanding. I wish you were right, but my understanding is:

1. The WebM pool is only relevant for patents that are applicable to WebM - MMI certainly may have some patents that fall into that category, but the vast majority are certainly not related to WebM at all.

2. The OIN does not prohibit members from suing each other - that is just not true at all. It prohibits members from filing suit over Linux. Now what exactly that means when boiled down to legalize I'm not entirely sure, but it certainly does not preclude members from suing each other if it is NOT related to Linux.

More importantly, it does not require members to donate any of their patents to the pool - they certainly can if they want to, but they are merely required to license the members of the pool to any patent that is applicable to Linux (which in reality simply means members cannot sue each other over Linux). As such the majority of MMIs patents (which are mostly patents on communication technology) are not relevant.
"

I believe the fact that Oracle (OIN member) is suing Google (OIN member) over patents related to the JVM (not linux) would seem to support your view, too.

Companies like IBM are OIN members too, and there's absolutely no way they would automatically open up their entire patent pool carte blanche to anyone joining OIN. It's simply a pool of voluntarily contributed licenses that members can use on the condition they don't launch patent suits related to linux and a list of specific linux-related apps.

IIRC, it originated at the height of the MS-linux FUD war. Novell acquired a set of e-comm related patents that everyone was worried could be used to launch a patent war against anyone with an online presence, Microsoft included. Novell founded the OIN, dumped the patents in, and basically said to MS that they were free to use them to cover their potentially-infringing related business, but in doing so would have to agree not to sue the other members over linux-related patents. MS didn't bite, and frankly, although well intentioned, the OIN hasn't really changed the playing field one way or the other.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by shmerl
by lemur2 on Tue 16th Aug 2011 01:41 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by shmerl"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"This means that after Google buys MMI, because of the way that these community patent pools operate, all of MMI's relevant patents will become licensed to all other members of those pools. Google won't be able to sue any of them.
That is not my understanding. I wish you were right, but my understanding is: 1. The WebM pool is only relevant for patents that are applicable to WebM - MMI certainly may have some patents that fall into that category, but the vast majority are certainly not related to WebM at all. 2. The OIN does not prohibit members from suing each other - that is just not true at all. It prohibits members from filing suit over Linux. Now what exactly that means when boiled down to legalize I'm not entirely sure, but it certainly does not preclude members from suing each other if it is NOT related to Linux. "

So far, correct. I did say "relevant" patents, which means patent relevant to the pool (WebM pool, or OIN which is a Linux pool). I should have emphasised this a bit more, apparently.

More importantly, it does not require members to donate any of their patents to the pool - they certainly can if they want to, but they are merely required to license the members of the pool to any patent that is applicable to Linux (which in reality simply means members cannot sue each other over Linux).


Yes. I did not imply that members of the OIN pool could sue non-members, I said only that members of the pool cannot sue each other. Google are now free to countersue Apple and Microsoft over MMI patents related to a mobile phone OS, but they cannot sue anyone who is a member of the OIN, since the OIN pool is about OS-related patents. Also, OIN members cannot sue non-members using patents of other OIN members. Only the patent holder can sue.

Here is a description of how it works:

http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/pat_license.php

As such the majority of MMIs patents (which are mostly patents on communication technology) are not relevant.


There is an agreement in place that Google will not sue a whole list of other companies over WebM patents it holds, and another agreement that Google will not sue other companies over OS-related patents it holds. All Google requires is that other companies do not sue it.

Now that Google is going to acquire a lot of patents from MMI, why should Google change this policy? I would think that the most likely thing for Google to do would be to start another community patent pool, similar in operation to OIN and the WebM pool, but for mobile-related patents. I'm sure that HTC, Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung would jump right in.

Edited 2011-08-16 01:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2