Following up from its legal filing yesterday in the U.S., Google has now officially served BT with legal papers for patent infringements in its home market of the UK. While yesterday’s suit concerned enterprise services, the UK finding reveals that Google is using Motorola patents to go after BT, claiming it is making infringements in its IPTV services and its set-top boxes. Thus a legal battle between the two companies ratchets up another notch, and now the question is whether the two sides will settle outside of court, or whether BT plans to file a countersuit in the UK.
BT already filed one patent suit against Google in December, 2011, which is what spurred Google’s actions in the two countries.
While BT is suing Google in the U.S. over technology related to its Android mobile operating system, Google in the U.S. is going after BT’s enterprise business: its claiming infringement on patents it owns related to conference calling and quality of service assurance on data networks such as those run by BT for MPLS-based and other services.
In the UK case, which is dated yesterday (but Google tells me that BT was only officially served papers today), Google is taking a different approach: it’s relying on some of the patent trove it picked up in its $12.5 billion Motorola acquisition last year to go after BT’s fledgling TV business. In all, Google says it now owns 45,000 patents and pending patent applications worldwide.
Of the two separate suits, embedded below, the first details that Google is claiming infringements related to BT’s on-demand, BT Vision TV service as well as its set-top box business. The other suit is related to a Motorola patent in the UK for “dynamic security for digital television receivers.”
BT itself owns some 5,000 patents and has not been a stranger to defending them, although those efforts have not been totally successful.
BT has declined to comment so far on the case, while Google says that its lawsuits are a “last resort” option after failing to find common ground with the company.