British Telecom has filed a lawsuit against Google over alleged infringements of its patents on the Android operating system.
BT claims at least six of its patents are violated on Google Maps, Google Music, Android Market and other location-based products on Android, and is seeking damages – including triple damages for wilful and deliberate infringement, as well as an injunction.
Legal proceedings may also expand to Europe, which, if successful, could result in BT receiving royalties for each Android device already in use and being sold, of which there are more than 500,000 activated per day by Google's own admission.
A spokesperson for BT told The Guardian: “BT can confirm that it has commenced legal proceedings against Google by filing a claim with the US District Court of Delaware for patent infringement.
“The patents in question relate to technologies which underpin location-based services, navigation and guidance information and personalised access to services and content. BT’s constant investment in innovation has seen it develop a large portfolio of patents which are valuable corporate assets.”
The telecoms provider is of course not the first company to accuse the Mountain View, California-based giant of such wrongdoings, which has already faced legal action from the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and eBay.
Florian Müller of FOSS Patents, says: "Android already had more than enough intellectual problems anyway. Now Google faces one more large organisation that believes its rights are infringed. BT probably wants to continue to be able to do business with all mobile device makers and therefore decided to sue Google itself."
It’s unclear at this point whether Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility will play a part in deciding its fate in the litigations as Motorola is known to have cross-licensing deals with major players in the industry and has a substantial patents portfolio of its own.
However, clearly BT does not believe Google has anything in this case to defend itself, let alone fight back with. It’s still early days, though, so we won’t know the full details of matters just yet. Stay tuned as we find out more.