Google has broken their silence on the whole Lodsys software patent nonsense, and are asking the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to re-examine the validity of both patents in question. This is in contrast to the way Apple has handled this situation, they have made the argument that the patents are covered by their license with Lodsys and developers for the iOS platform are immune to litigation. Google is saying that the patents should have never been issued in the first place. In a statement to Wired, Google senior VP and general counsel Kent Walker said:
We’ve asked the US Patent Office to reexamine two Lodsys patents that we believe should never have been issued. Developers play a critical part in the Android ecosystem and Google will continue to support them.
Lodsys is currently suing 11 application developers for infringment, saying that their patents cover in-app payment technology. Of the 11, Rovio, and Illusion Labs have released applications for the Android platform. There is no wanton suing of Android specific developers -- yet.
Google's stance that these patents are invalid goes along with their strategy of the patent system being broken and in need of a revamp. But even if the USPTO grants the re-examination request, that doesn't mean they will be invalidated. A quick look at the current crop of lawsuits and trade dress actions makes that evident. We wish Google, and the developers involved, the best of luck.
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