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Patent madness! A timeline of the Android patent wars

Brad Reed | Sept. 20, 2011
How Android has gotten the entire mobile industry to sue itself.

And the bad news for Google keeps rolling in from there as HTC loses in the International Trade Commission's initial ruling in its dispute with Apple. If the ITC's judgment is made final later this year it could mean a ban on importing HTC's Android phones into the U.S.

The one bright spot for Google during the month is its acquisition of more than 1,000 patents from IBM that bolsters its overall patent portfolio, but that doesn't do much to blunt lawsuits against Android vendors since the patents mainly cover the architecture of memory and microprocessing chips rather than mobile operating systems.

August 2011: Google starts to get serious in its efforts to defend Android vendors when it pays $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility and its extensive portfolio of around 24,500 patents. Google CEO Larry Page says that the company's foray into the patent wars will benefit its Android partners since the company is still dedicated to keeping Android an open mobile operating system.

"This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform," Page emphasizes. "Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business. Many hardware partners have contributed to Android's success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences."

This still doesn't slow down worldwide patent suits against Android vendors, however, as Samsung agrees to not sell its Android-based Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until it resolves a patent dispute with Apple and a Dutch court issues an injunction ordering the immediate halt of sales for Samsung's Android-based Galaxy smartphones.

September 2011: Samsung vows revenge against Apple by claiming that it will block sales of the iPhone 5 whenever it goes on sale in Samsung's native Korea. According to a report in the Korea Times, Samsung will sue Apple for alleged patent infringements against its wireless technology-related patents. Something tells us this will be far from the last Android-related patent suit to hit the wires by the end of the year.

 

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