Fresh from complaining about how unseemly this whole “patent” thing is, Google has unleashed its Android OEM flying monkeys!
HTC Corp. (2498), Asia’s second-biggest smartphone maker, is using nine patents bought from Google Inc. (GOOG) last week to pursue new infringement claims against Apple Inc.
See? That, Google, is how you play ball, unfortunately.
Unlike some other commentators, the Macalope’s not going to give Google a hard time for suing with patents that it bought fourth and even fifth hand instead of, like Apple, ones that it was awarded for things it actually invented. Business is business. The Macalope just better not hear any more holier-than-thou proclamations about how noble Google has never sued anyone over patent infringement. Suing by proxy is still suing.
Besides, this may all be just a lead-up to the main bout: Apple vs. Google. What a media circus that would be.
The first punches are already being thrown. As Florian Mueller noticed last week, Apple is charging that Andy Rubin’s mobile expertise all traces back to his time at Apple in the early 1990s. Hey, looks like Apple did make something lasting from that period! Maybe we owe John Sculley and Michael Spindler an apology.
(Haha, just kidding.)
But big deal. So what? Who cares? So Rubin is a replicant hatched from an egg incubated in a misbegotten Apple skunkworks project. Who gives a rip?
Should Apple at some point sue Google directly over this patent, this background could, however, have serious ramifications: Google (or a Google subsidiary like MMI) would almost certainly be found to infringe the relevant patent intentionally, and willful infringement would greatly increase Apple’s chances of obtaining an injunction as well as triple damages.
Triple damage! That’s some serious hit points! No way Google makes a saving throw against that!
While HTC is fighting Apple, two other companies have capitulated to Microsoft’s demands that they need to license the company’s technology for their Android handsets.
So, are you getting this whole series of events? Let’s run though them.
Somehow, in the early 1990s Apple bred a mobile technology killer robot. Cyborg.
No, wait… android. Andy Rubin.
We’re through the looking glass here, people. It was staring us right in the face the whole time. All the pieces are starting to fall into place.
OK, so Apple makes this Andyroid and, through the mismanagement endemic to the company at the time, it’s released into the wild. Years later, the Andyroid is caught by Microsoft, which reprograms it and re-released into the wild—but deliberately. It then gets hired by Google and acts as a Manchurian candidate within the company to funnel millions of dollars to Microsoft for doing jack squat.
Ingenious. The Macalope tips his antlers toward Redmond.
Well, OK, maybe that’s not what happened. But it pretty much worked out that way anyway.
[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]