Google’s Android OS has been the target of numerous patent infringement lawsuits from other big names like Apple that see it as a threat. These lawsuits have often targeted Google partners like HTC who chose to go with Android for their devices.
Google continues to argue that these cases stifle competition, but it is doing more than just vocally protesting the attacks. Google is assembling an all star defense team of legal experts in an attempt to ensure that Android’s distribution is not harmed by the many cases lined up against them. The ultimate threat is that some of these cases, if decided against Google, could put an end to Android licensing. With the stakes being so high, it’s no surprise that Google’s website is currently listing openings for six patent related legal positions.
Google is currently hiring a patent agent, counsel, docketing clerk, paralegal, litigation counsel, and strategic patent licensing and acquisitions manager. The principal job of this last position is to evaluate potential opportunities for patent purchase or licensing, and also to negotiate deals that will add more patents to the Google portfolio. This is an important job when you consider that Google recently lost its bid for the 6,000 patents on wireless and mobile technologies in Nortel’s portfolio.
Google has less than 1,000 patents to its name, which sounds like a lot but is much less than the 3,000 plus patents granted to rival Microsoft in the last year alone. Google’s lack of a large patent portfolio is part of what makes it so vulnerable to lawsuits from other firms like Oracle, which sued Google last fall targeting its Android OS. Oracle is seeking a monetary award that amounts to billions of dollars, which could be highly damaging for Google particularly if Oracle wins the patent suit.