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Google accuses Microsoft of abusing patents system

business Updated: Nov 08, 2011 16:28 IST

A Google lawyer has accused software giant Microsoft of ‘abusing’ the patent system by using them only its products “stop succeeding”.

Tim Porter, Google’s patent lawyer, argued that patent laws are holding back innovation and he accused Microsoft of riding on the coat-tails of others, the Daily Mail reports.

Porter said that when Microsoft was starting out it wasn’t possible to patent software, not until the 1980s, so the company had free reign to push boundaries.

‘When their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalised, as is happening now with Android, they use the large patent portfolio they''ve built up to get revenue from the success of other companies'' products,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Unfortunately, the way it works is you don''t know what patents cover until courts declare that in litigation,” Porter said.

“The concern is that the more people get distracted with litigation, the less they''ll be inventing,” he added.

Porter pointed out that by the time Microsoft filed its first software patent in 1988 it had already invented Word and DOS.

He emphasised that inventors in the past were frustrated by having to wait for a patent to expire before they could get to work.

Google’s popular mobile Android operating system is facing legal challenges from companies like Microsoft, Apple and Oracle.

Apple has recently fired several legal salvos at Google’s key partners Samsung and HTC.