Google is embattled in a number of patent infringement disputes. Well, not exactly Google, although it has a few, but some of the manufacturers who produce Android-based mobile devices.
On July 15, 2011, the ITC, which is the governing review body for patents, ruled that device maker HTC had infringed on patents held by Apple. The problem is that the patents are core components to the overall usefulness of the smartphone. I think Apple handled this litigation in a brilliant manner: attack the makers of the phones, not the maker of the operating system. This ruling is going to force Google to consider how it wants to handle future development.
I think the biggest problem is going to be the issue of royalties paid to Apple because of the functions. I also think that Microsoft is suddenly smiling because it isn’t seeing it’s device plummeting to obscurity (MS guarantees no licensing problems). How much this ruling hurts Google and it’s contingent of manufacturers, is still to be determined.
Moreover, this is just an initial ruling, which is going to find an appeal to the federal courts. We have years of litigation ahead (how about that for Google and HTC’s big shot law firms – cha-ching). I am confident that all parties will find a certain compromise that will compensate Apple for it’s technology, while hedging a profit for Android device makers.
Finally, recent news reports that Google is stepping into the fight. This is going to be big for everyone.