Today Larry Page officially reclaimed the reigns, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the global corporate giant Google. His predecessor, whom Page once appointed while he first served as CEO, Eric Schmidt, has occupied the role for the past ten-years.
Google has long battled the United States Federal government to pass a patent reform act, but their efforts have been stifled. Instead, Google seems to have found themselves in an uphill battle against Federal and State governments in the U.S., major competitors and the European Union. Most recently, a U.S. federal judge rejected Google's large settlement offer with book publishers, which would have allowed the company to digitize books without having to verify copyrights. Antitrust investigations started by the European Union's Competition Commission at the closure of 2010. Just last week, Google's major competitor Microsoft joined the investigation by filing a complaint in the case. Additionally, the state governments of Ohio and Wisconsin have announced they are also considering launching their own antitrust investigations into Google.
Page, who co-founded Google along with Sergey Brin,
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.
immediately took an aggressive approach to defending Google by placing a $900-million bid to buy Nortel's patent portfolio during the tech companies bankruptcy auction. Google claims the move is to bulk up their own patent portfolio, which as a fairly young company is small compared to its competitors, and to create a disincentive for others "bogus and dubious lawsuits." Google gave a detailed response following Nortel's acceptance of their bid as the "stalking horse" or measuring bid against all other future proposals
The tech world has recently seen an explosion in patent litigation, often involving low-quality software patents, which threatens to stifle innovation. Some of these lawsuits have been filed by people or companies that have never actually created anything; others are motivated by a desire to block competing products or profit from the success of a rival’s new technology. The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits. It's for these reasons that Google has long argued in favor of real patent reform, which we believe will benefit users and the U.S. economy as a whole.
But as things stand today, one of a company’s best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services. Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories.
So after a lot of thought, we’ve decided to bid for Nortel’s patent portfolio in the company’s bankruptcy auction. Today, Nortel selected our bid as the “stalking-horse bid," which is the starting point against which others will bid prior to the auction. If successful, we hope this portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community—which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome—continue to innovate. In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it's the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners.