Motorola Mobility Acquisition Shows Google Hypocrisy?
Just after two of Google's legal heavyweights attacked the company's competitors for using "underhand" patent accumulation tactics, Google announced its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, leading to widespread allegations of hypocrisy against the search-giant. REUTERS

Google high-ups David Drummond and Kent Walker have both released predictions claiming that the current patent war raging through the smartphone market will kill company innovation thus hurting the end consumer.

Chief Legal Officer David Drummond

Earlier this week Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond released a new public statement accusing numerous companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Oracle of working together to hamper the Android operating system's growth.

In the post Drummond claimed that when faced with the Android operating system's success, numerous companies had resorted to underhand patent accumulation tactics.

Drummond claimed that these accumulations were a direct attempt by Google's competitors to force an unjust "tax" on the company's Android OS.

In his blog post Drummond clarified: "Android's success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents."

"They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation."

The legal chief went on to argue that if successful, the tax would hurt the end user commenting: "our competitors want to impose a 'tax' for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers."

Google Chief Lawyer Kent Walker

Drummond's comments Mirror those of Google lawyer Kent Walker.

Last month while speaking to The Guardian Walker warned that the tech industry's ongoing patent war would end up hurting consumers.

Walker argued that tech companies ongoing frenzy to secure more patents was, "gumming up the works of innovation".

Walker's comment refers to the increasing cost patent disputes are inflicting on tech companies.

In the interview Walker went on to predict a Cold War-esque scenario where each company hoards patents just to ensure its rivals can't produce new tech:

"Each side can blow the other up on some level - everybody can block the other's products from coming to market... You create this mutually assured destruction scenario, but it's very expensive to get all those munitions."

If I Can't Have it No-one Can

The "if I can't have it no-one can" mentality prominent in most tech companies was a common feature in both Drummond's and Walker's comments.

Already the tech industry is riddled with numerous lawsuits between most major companies. Currently as well as the cases against Google, Apple is embroiled in a series of heated legal disputes with HTC and Samsung over alleged patent infringements.

In his blog post Drummond highlighted the farcical nature of such disputes arguing that next to all major developers had created versions of the disputed patented tech simultaneously.

Describing the patents currently being used against Google as "questionable" Drummond commented: "A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a "tax" for these dubious patents."

A way forward?

In their respective comments, neither Drummond nor Walker offered any concrete way forward out of the tech industry's prophesied path of mutually assured destruction.

When asked for a possible answer, the best Walker could manage was:

"It's hard to find what's the best path -- there's so much litigation, We're exploring a variety of different things. The tech industry has a significant problem and Software patents are kind of gumming up the works of innovation."

Worse still, when discussing the future all Drummond could do was promise an escalation in Google's efforts to secure more patents commenting:

"We're [Google] encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it's looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means.

"We're also looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio."