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Google admits failure in copying iOS, excuses its patent infringement with Communist rhetoric

Daniel Eran Dilger

Google has has issued its latest defense for having appropriated Apple’s intellectual property: an argument that insists some inventions are so good that they should be wrenched from their patent holders by the government and distributed to the proletariat of Android licensees so that Google can make unfettered money selling ads on its stolen platform.
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After an initial attempt to insist that other company’s patents and other intellectual property simply don’t exist and can be infringed upon without limit, Google next embarked upon a multibillion dollar effort to assemble its own patent portfolio, including the $12 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility, a sale that was expressly made to obtain its patents.

Google has since perpetuated Motorola’s own offensive patent attacks against competitors, seeking not just injunctions but injunctions based on Standards Essential Patents, a particular subset of patents that have already been dedicated to special Fair, Reasonable and NonDiscriminatory licensing terms by their holders.

This, in itself, was such a brazenly hypocritical action that it should have gotten Google booed off the stage, or at least seated at the children’s table next to other egregiously notorious patent trolls Proview and Lodsys. Google is actually worse than the run of the mill patent trolls because it constantly whines about freedom, openness and the threat of patent abuse. That is, until it gets its first opportunity to abuse patents itself.

Google is now backing up for more public defecation on its reputation. What could be more hypocritical than arguing two sides of an argument at the same time? On one hand, Google is insisting on the right to demand outrageous fees from Microsoft over patents essential to H.264. Remember when this shameless company was grandstanding about how H.264 was bad for the web because it involved patent licensing under FRAND?

Now that Google owns some H.264 patents, it’s proving itself the main abuser–if not the only major abuser–of H.264 FRAND patents. What a shameful bag of dicks!

Google to continue Motorola’s FRAND licensing that seeks to monopolize H.264, UMTS

That’s not even the tip of the iceberg of Google’s shameful behavior

While suing Microsoft over H.264 “infringement,” where infringement has been redefined by Google/Motorola to mean a refusal to pay unfair, unreasonable and discriminatory patent royalties on expressly FRAND patents, Google itself is insisting that it owes Oracle virtually nothing for appropriating its technology to quickly bring Android (a tweaked distro of JavaME on Linux) to market. And note that while Google’s copycat Android stomped all over Oracle’s legitimate Java platform, no part of Motorola or Google compete against Microsoft’s Xbox, the primary target of Google’s H.264 patent demands.

And if that level of hypocrisy isn’t enough, Google is now expanding its patent abuse to Apple, cowardly under the guise of “supporting” the Android licensees that float on its advertising platform.

And if that weren’t enough, Google is now insisting that if there are indeed any rules regarding patents voluntarily committed to open standards for interoperability (like, you know, H.264, the open standard Google was vociferously against until its own alternative failed and it subsequently paid billions to be in a position to abuse those very same FRAND patents it was stoking fear about, or UMTS and anything else Google is equally happy to abuse given the opportunity), the company now demands that everyone else’s successful patents should be automatically wrenched from their owners and provided to the proletariate for collective use.

Why Apple can’t be too worried about Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets taking away iPad sales: Part 2

Google’s egregiously hypocritical flavor of Communism

There are people who believe that the means of production should be taken from the people who own them and given to the population, collectively, to prevent abuse of the workers and to provide as fair and equal of distribution of wealth as possible. They’re called Communists.

The problem with Communism isn’t that it’s a bad sounding idea, it’s that it simply does not work in reality. There will always be flaws in huge systems intended to “fairly” distribute wealth and prosperity, and these have always resulted in Communism failing to provide for the very people it is supposed to be looking out for, and an even more unfair distribution of wealth than its alternatives. Even Communists don’t support Communism as it has ever been practiced anywhere on earth.

Google knows Communism doesn’t work at least as well as any other corporation. But it’s now using a purely Communist explanation of why it shouldn’t be forced to obey the rule of law in the area of patents. While on one hand Google has turned itself into the primary hub of patent abuse on the globe (in its desperate attempt to “defend” Android, which is itself a tall stack of patent infringements), it’s now claiming that Apple’s patented technologies must be taken away and given to Google to use to bolster its inability to maintain parity of innovation.

If Google was clearly and consistently voicing an anti-patent perspective, its particular brand of ideology could at least be respected as an opinion. The reality, however, is that Google barks about freedom and openness when it is in the company’s interests to steal ideas, and then turns around to demand outrageous fees over concepts that have already been committed to FRAND licensing terms with the express intention of fostering compatibility, not market control and profitability.

Patents vs the alternatives

There are many who believe that the world (or at least the software market) should be free of intellectual property barriers. I personally believe the lack of sufficient IP protection in the 1990s is what gave us a bleak period shoddy software led by Microsoft, a company that successfully stole ideas and sold third-rate copies, but didn’t give us anything new. That eventually led to Microsoft’s failure, but not before grinding progress to a virtual standstill during the Dark Ages of boring computing (1992-2002).

There is something profound about the fact that Apple could dust off NeXT technology from 1992 and deliver it as the hot product of 2002: Microsoft sure hadn’t delivered a decade worth of technology over that period. It had only skated to where the puck was in 1992 and then danced in a circle around it for the next ten years, eventually falling through the ice when it failed to calculate the trajectory of malware and security issues that were adding up as it did so.

At the same time, it’s also easy to imagine a parallel alternative world where, thanks to excessively strong patents, the Old Apple of the 1980s reigned through the 1990s with an effective monopoly on graphical computing, making lots of money but delivering no more innovation than Microsoft did. That wouldn’t have really been much better.

Or, alternatively, a series of empowered patent trolls could have appeared and nipped in the bud every advance to appear before it could ever take root. Imagine if some Non Practicing Entities’ patents had killed off the Macintosh, or the Palm Pilot, or OS X, or the smartphone, the iPod, the iPad or any other major game changer before they had the opportunity to change the tech landscape. Clearly, there needs to be a balance between IP anarchy and IP totalitarianism.

Why OS X is on the iPhone, but not the PC

Google is way up shit creek

Imagine if patents had attacked Google. Oh wait! That actually did happen, because in the early days, Google just took its core search monetizing plan from Overture. Fortunately for Google, Yahoo acquired Overture and Google could simply offer Yahoo a bunch of stock to settle that issue. Don’t let Google’s current stories fool you, the company has believed in patents from the beginning. It knows what patents are worth, and knows how they work.

When Google stole Java’s copyright code for Android and then stole Apple’s patented iOS to make Android marketable, it knew very well what it was doing, and what it was risking. The company just hoped it could get away with it, or at least make enough money that it could just throw cash at the problems at some point in the future and move past them, the same way Microsoft handled anti-trust issues in the 1990s.

What Google didn’t calculate accurately (and calculation is Google’s core competency) its the risk of someone huge like Oracle buying Java and actually asserting Java’s IP rights. Or the tenacity of Apple in working to stop Android from stealing its American intellectual property and delivering it to enrich companies in Communist China. (And seriously, will all the people barking about Apple’s “failure” to bring assembly line jobs back from China at least give some thought to what it means for Google to be ripping off American technology and giving it to the Chinese for free?)

Google seems to appear to believe that if it can convince a bunch of fans to rally around nice-sounding concepts like “freedom” and “openness” that it can avoid the rule of law. It also seems to think that it can enter new markets by drumming up similar levels of enthusiasm in that same fan base. However, the strategic commercial products Google has delivered to these fans, from Google Wave to Buzz to Google+ to Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich have all been absolute failures in the real market. ABSOLUTE FAILURES.

And it appears that exciting a nerd base isn’t going to create a buffer from reality in the legal realm, either.

How Oracle might kill Google’s Android and software patents all at once

Patent problems seem to be solving themselves

There is something else interesting occurring with patents, too. While everyone can legitimately complain about various aspects of the complex patent system, the fears that were expressed about a world unfairly dominated by patent holders simply isn’t materializing. Apple, Motorola and Oracle have lots of patents, but have all been struggling tooth and nail to enforce any of them in a way that really changes the technology landscape.

Apple isn’t preventing anyone from making functional smartphones or rectangular tablets. Apple is seeking to retain ownership of specific features associated with the iPhone or iPad, however. And when it comes down to it, it appears Apple’s efforts to make its iOS products better, sexier, more tightly integrated and more fun to use are all collectively having a bigger impact on the company’s success and market share that its ability to block copycats.

At the same time, it is important for legitimate patent holders to have to ability to seek legal redress when others infringe their legal rights. How to exactly handle all of these cases is a complex problem that requires legal discussion in the courts, because it’s easy to imagine how patent abuse could occur. Actually, no need to imagine when companies like Lodsys and Proview are on the prowl demanding money for things they clearly do not own.

But this appears to be working itself out, in no small part because companies like Apple have been fighting cases rather than just handing over huge sums of money. Some good examples: Microsoft was so afraid of Burst’s video patent lawsuit that it settled for $60 million, and onlookers expected Apple to end up paying at least $500 million. But Apple fought Burst and ended up paying only $10 million, in the process invalidating most of Burst’s patents.

Why Nokia is suing Apple over iPhone GSM/UMTS patents

Kodak’s new patent-centric business model was also initially working well, harvesting more than a half billion from first LG and then Samsung. But when it attacked Apple, the company fought back, invalidating its patents and ending up with nothing to pay but its own legal fees. Other companies are now fighting, rather than just throwing money at patent trolls and their weak patents.

In any event, Google is a primary patent abuser: as a predatory licensee of FRAND patents; as a willful, psychotic patent infringer; and as an unmatched hypocrite in spewing contradictory emotionalism about both patent rights and obligations. It’s hard to have pity for a company so diametrically opposed to honesty, real open markets, actual competition and the rule of law, particularly when it is so quick to exploit the legal system for its own selfish gain.

Boo on you a second time, Google.

19 comments

1 snorky { 07.21.12 at 2:04 pm }
2 snorky { 07.21.12 at 2:06 pm }
3 maxijazz { 07.21.12 at 3:27 pm }

“Google has has issued its latest defense for having appropriated Apple’s intellectual property:
an argument that insists some inventions are so good that they should be wrenched from their
patent holders by the government and distributed to the proletariat of Android licensees so that Google
can make unfettered money selling ads on its stolen platform.”
Ohhh, this is what every socialist government does, including current, american one.
The government insists, that i am so good at money creation, that they should be wrenched from me
by the government and distributed to the proletariat of lazy hustlers, so the government can make
unfettered money “helping” poor and “selling” contracts to highest “bidders” or to just ones supporting their election.

“The reality, however, is that Google barks about freedom and openness when it is in the company’s interests to steal ideas, and then turns around to demand outrageous fees over concepts that have already been committed to FRAND licensing terms”
This is what every socialist government does, including current, american one.
They sing freedom song and then take the freedom away from citizens with more and more outrageous bills.

Former citizen of communist country.

PS. I could not finish reading the BS from one who does not really know what communism or socialism is (and supports democrats, real socialists, not not seeing that), how disastrous they are.

4 Dmitri { 07.21.12 at 5:17 pm }

Welcome back Daniel! Great to read your work again. Don’t let the haters get you down.

5 tamajama { 07.21.12 at 6:41 pm }

Like with Alien Loves Predator, I kept visiting your site to see when you’d have fresh writing. Patience finally rewarded. Upgrades to iPhone/iPad/iOS/OS X coming soon! You must be getting back in shape for the big events. Are you writing a ‘Tim Cook’ piece, and hey, how about that MS Surface, eh? C’mon, you got lots to write about, so little time. Unless you have a day job now, please keep the writing coming, much more fun to read than Gruber. Mostly… .

6 studiodave { 07.21.12 at 11:40 pm }

What haters? They just bark like the dog next door and after a few min I don’t even hear them anymore. Glad to read you again Daniel, I wish there was a way everyone could see your writings.

7 genovelle { 07.22.12 at 6:37 am }

@maxijazz,
If you lived in a communist society and were not one of the elite, then you were living the lie of propaganda to keep you oblivious to what was happening. It’s clear you are still following the same unfortunate path now. It sounds like you have been listening to the lies of the Republicans through their Fox News Network. Their minions preach their false tales from the rooftops as gospel even when non of it adds up. Google actually copied their tactic by using the fact that we have become a nation that wants everything for free against us, while tricking them into supporting their cause to gain access to your personal info at any cost. Please do some research and you will see that we are always in bad shape after 4-8 years of a Republican President, especially if they have Congress too. Then it take years to repair the damage when a Democrat takes over. Only to be fought tooth and nail with lies to maintain the power of the super rich. Check out a little iPhone app called Economy. It compiles every report on the economic factors for the last 40+ years. It will show you a graph that includes which party was in the white house. I have yet to see a person who does real research into the trends continue to follow Fox News or the Republicans. Unless they are very rich and they knew the truth all along.

8 loert { 07.22.12 at 7:33 am }

Great write-up. Google has had it coming for awhile. I don’t see Apple or MS letting up on the litigation front and I think the worst is yet to come for Google from Apple. It will be interesting when Apple/Google finally go head to head in court (instead of Google using its Asian proxies to fight Apple). Google is guilty as can be and if anything, Google should have the natural laws of the universe, Karma, and Christ himself frowning upon them in that trials. One thing is for sure: Apple’s cash hoard is substsntially larger and significantly outpacing google’s in growth….sand Apple doesn’t piss it away like Google does (Motorola). Over time, this cash hoard will be the advantage.
One last note… Loved your point Daniel about Google enriching China and Korea with Stolen IP. Other than advertising, what good does it do Google to make Samsung (and soon every Chinese knockoff) Android powered? It’s not like Google is used as the search default….it’s Baidu. Google might be profitable from its core strength of calculation, but its actions are mostly foolish and wreckless.

9 kilroywashere { 07.22.12 at 9:01 am }

Genovelle, lol. Speaking of living in propaganda… You sit there and go on and on about rich republicans, but your guy is hanging out with celebrities constantly and take vacations to Martha’s vineyard. Your guy is a huge money gruber, but you loyally regurgitate the talking points. Why don’t you go read the communist manifestesto and see how much of your personal beliefs and attitudes are in agreement with it.

10 kilroywashere { 07.22.12 at 9:03 am }

Manifesto*

11 ericgen { 07.22.12 at 10:57 am }

Elated to have you back!!! I’m glad something outrageous enough occurred to get you back writing again.

I liked MacDailyNews’ take, how about Google cough up those search algorithms for the common good. It would improve the common good to have Yahoo, Bing, et al. provide better results to everyone.

12 TheMacAdvocate { 07.23.12 at 7:10 am }

Google is a philosophical chameleon that adopts whatever viewpoint can extract it the most money while enduring the least amount of scrutiny. It wants a world with no intellectual property – unless we’re talking about their search algorithms. It’s a self-professed Champion of Open Source – until threatened with lawsuits; then it turn on its FRAND obligations in a heartbeat.

There is no tech company on the planet that speaks out of both sides of its mouth as egregiously as Google. Kent Walker’s stand-up act is just the latest example of a company with no moral compass masquerading as public benefactor.

13 kent { 07.23.12 at 8:39 am }

Daniel – I think this post is one of your best. My only advice is to calm your anger. You rage at the beginning, but the vitriol lowers the quality of the argument. Not that hatred of theft of private property is not warranted. And your political statement against communism is refreshing.

Now, I hope you apply it to our current leader, who was taught by Frank Marshall Davis, Communist Party USA member # 47544. Davis preached violent revolution, part of which of course included nationalization of all industry. [this isn't remotely true, any more than the rest of the Tea Party propaganda that, among other things, refers to Mitt Romney's Republican health care plan as "Socialist Obamacare." I hope you're smarter than that. - Dan]

This would put Apple in the hands of the people who run the TSA. [This is comical because the TSA came to power and prominence as the absurd security force charged with reining in "terrorism" under George Bush and his Republican dominated Congress. The vast majority of terrorism in the USA comes from right wing abortion clinic bombers and related anti-government separatists/and other extremist militants, rather than being delivered through airplane security. But suggesting that Obama put the economy under the control of Bush's "Fear the Terror, Spend trillions on Iraq" strategy is just purely nutty - Dan]

Obama has lauded Frank Marshall Davis, as well as Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers. [This is also a lie. Obama knew of both Davis and Ayers, but he wrote of Davis "he was as incurable as my mother, as certain in his faith, living in the same sixties time warp that Hawaii had created," and repudiated Ayers' anti-war protests that engaged in violence. To suggest that Obama had some ideological camaraderie with 1960s Communists is pure Tea Party propaganda that could only fool the most fragile minded old goose steppers. Obama has been leaning right of the centrist line in the US throughout his presidency. - Dan]

All of Obama’s close associates advocate the communist ideology you so accurately indict above. [Another lie, this is getting tiresome - Dan]

This is what is coming to America right now. Google is the least of our problems, as communist ideology now controls the media, the universities, and the current government. [If that's the case, where's any indication of that? All that's visible is a corporate oligarchy put firmly in place under Bush and funded by radical conservatives on the Supreme Court by the trillionaire-democracy "Citizens United" decisions, saying local governments (like MT) can't restrict big money from being shoveled into election distortion. That's certainly corrupt, but how is it Communist? - Dan ]

Did you not notice that MF Global, headed by Jon Corzine, former governor of New Jersey and CEO of Goldman Sachs, stole $2 billion from private small investor accounts, to cover MF Global’s bad investments. So far, this large Obama donor has not been indicted and there are no signs he will be. The rule of law you rightly highlight is now gone. [I don't drink Tea Party propaganda like a foie gras duck as you do, so I can't address this dispute over $2 billion. Why not look at the undisputed expenditure of $4 trillion (that's $4,000 billion) wasted on turning Iraq from a petty dictatorship into a series of unstable terrorist cells run by radical warlords? Or are you too busy chasing down the $0.0005 (1/2,000th!) of a trillion that was invested in Solyndra? Sounds like your priorities are nutty. - Dan]

It is evident in things like the behavior of Google, but even more important, in the top of our government. Chicago thug politics now reign. Friends are rewarded and enemies are eliminated. [Who has Obama eliminated? The weather girl from Alaska? She has a show on cable. - Dan]

Until the general population sees this and rejects it, we will continue further down this path toward tyranny, another name for the communism you rightly attacked in this well written and well thought out piece. [Kent you know I appreciate your comments when you aren't repeating silly fascist propaganda. - Dan]

14 jpRZ { 07.23.12 at 8:52 am }

At long last an article! We all need your comments to have a better understanding of what’s really going on and we truly missed you!!

15 gus2000 { 07.23.12 at 10:19 pm }

“What a bag of dicks!”

Would that be a “tea” bag?

16 kent { 07.24.12 at 5:21 am }

@gus2000

Your intellect is showing. Just kidding.

17 The Mad Hatter { 07.26.12 at 5:26 pm }

Clearly, there needs to be a balance between IP anarchy and IP totalitarianism.

As someone who has read hundreds, if not thousands of patents, I have absolutely NO respect for the United States Patent Office. Over 90% of the U.S. patents that I’ve read were total garbage (the other 10% were in areas where I didn’t have the skills to evaluate them, but I suspect that they were no better.)

The Canadian and European Union patent offices are no better. Would you believe someone being issued a patent on the concept of placing grease nipples so that the inlet faces downward to prevent ingress of water? It happened.

The current patent system is so badly broken, that it should be scraped.

Wayne
http://madhatter.ca

18 miffedone { 08.06.12 at 3:38 pm }

Pretty much over the top with the ‘communist’ rhetoric. The simple fact is there are a few – rare, but real – instances where a ‘common good’ is more important than letting someone withhold an advance from the market, or price it so high as to make it impossible for others to use. “Brakes” on cars, for example. That’s why there is a small (tiny) exemption in patent law. It doesn’t “take away” an owner’s interest, it merely requires that it be licensed fairly and reasonably to others.

We do the same thing with railroad and trucking – requiring them to be “common carriers” so all customers face the same charges, rather than having monopolists favor some businesses at the expense of others. (Likewise for the telephone system back when it mattered.)

The exceptions exist for a reason. History demonstrates that monopolists will abuse, and regulation exists to try to defuse that.

[Are you arguing that Apple's specific, often frivolous UI features (such as bounce back) are "utilities" that must be licensed so that other phone makers can duplicate them? Because that sounds awfuly silly. Additionally, recall the testimony that Apple tried to enter a licensing agreement with Samsung (being that the two are financially dependent upon each other) and Samsung rejected it because it thought it could steal Apple's IP for nothing and get away with it.

This is not a monopoly case. Apple is not forcing the industry to bundle its one browser or making it impossible to sell products or chose alternatives. We now have more options and potential options in smartphone OSs than ever (Android 2, Android 4, Chinese Android forks, Bada, WP7, BB10, various Linux/Java options, etc).

There is no need for the grand soviet of software socialists to assert ownership of Apple's differentiating iPhone features in order to provide them to the companies that have never been able to write good software (Sony, LG, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Chinese cloners, etc.)

On the other hand, if Apple succeeded in gaining 70-90% market share and everyone was using iMessage and FaceTime to place calls, there would be a strong case for demanding that Apple open up its protocols so that other vendors could interoperate, and to do so under FRAND terms, even though Apple has never overtly promised FRAND commitments. We are certainly not there yet. - Dan]

19 The Mad Hatter { 08.20.12 at 9:23 am }

And now the battle gets bloodier and sillier at the same time.

TechCrunch

Wayne

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