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Everyone is after Android, because they know it’s taking leadership

All around the world legal teams are being asked the question by senior management - is Android using any of our intellectual property? And the answer

By PETER WHITE

Published: 28 October, 2010

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All around the world legal teams are being asked the question by senior management - is Android using any of our intellectual property? And the answer is coming back – “It might be.”

As a result Android finds itself embroiled in more and more legal actions and this week, digital security firm Gemalto filed its own suit against Google and the three most high profile Android phonemakers, HTC, Motorola and Samsung. Meanwhile Microsoft seems to be extending its own patent suits against Android players to Taiwanese players, Acer and Asustek. It seems that Microsoft simply wants the fear of royalties to get the Taiwanese companies to ditch Android.

Taiwan's Chinese language Commercial Times said the Windows giant planned to target the island's base of handset makers, likely to become a major source of Android devices as the Google OS moves into the mass market, and because many branded phones are manufactured in Taiwan. However, Asustek denied the claims and Acer did not comment. The largest Taiwanese Android player, HTC, has a licensing agreement with Microsoft and works closely with the software giant on Windows smartphones. Well it may push them one way or another, they may stop making Android phones, but equally they may cancel any plans to work with Microsoft.

These actions follow Microsoft's recent lawsuit against Motorola, which claims its Android smartphones infringe nine Linux-related patents. The actions are seen as a way to spread uncertainty about the Google OS - and by contrast, emphasize Microsoft's claims that Windows Phone 7 is legally protected - rather than a quest for royalty revenues. As well as the US federal lawsuit against Motorola, Microsoft also made a complaint to the International Trade Commission calling for an injunction against the disputed products.

Android players have also been sued by Apple, in its action against HTC (a suit that also includes Windows Mobile devices), and by Oracle, which is in dispute with Google over Java patents allegedly used in Android. Now Gemalto has joined the fray, and it is also focusing on the use of Java in Google's virtual machine for Android, Dalvik.

Gemalto says this uses patented technologies that were developed at its R&D facilities in the 1990s, and "are fundamental to running software, developed in a high level programming language such as Java, on a resource constrained device".

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