BT launches legal case against Google

TELECOMS group BT today became the latest in a line of technology companies to take on internet giant Google in the courts over alleged patent infringement.

BT’s case focuses on six patents, which relate to technology used in Google’s Android mobile system and a number of other services.

The UK-based telecoms group, which has its main research and development facility at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich, has filed legal proceedings at the US District Court of Delaware and is seeking unspecified damages as well as an injunction against Google’s continued use of its innovations.

The move follows legal action by Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and others, which have all made claims against Google’s Android system.

A BT spokesman said: “This is about protecting BT’s investment in its intellectual property rights and innovation. It is a well-considered claim and we believe there is a strong case of infringement.”

However, a Google spokeswoman said: “We believe these claims are groundless and we will vigorously defend ourselves against them.”

BT claims services including Android, Google Music, Google Plus, Google Maps, Google Books and eBooks all infringe BT’s own patents.

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If successful, the suit could mean that Google or mobile handset makers will have to pay BT royalties on each Android handset in use.

In documents submitted to the courts, BT claims the services involve technology invented by BT prior to Google’s founding.

BT has a total worldwide portfolio of around 5,600 patents and applications.

According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ 2010 R&D Scoreboard, BT is the third largest investor in research and development in the UK, having spent more than �5billion on research and development in the last five years.