Did Google Steal Android, Maps Tech From British Company BT?

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on December 27, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

You can add UK telecom group BT to the list of corporations suing Google. The company, which owns about 5,600 patents, has filed a federal lawsuit against the search behemoth for allegedly infringing on six of its patents.

The BT lawsuit accuses Google of stealing the technology at the center of its Android system, search engine, Google+ social network, eBooks, Docs, Maps and Gmail.

The suit implicates almost every Google product out there.

This is because the technology in dispute involves location-based services, navigation, access preferences and digital rights management.

This is the technology that allows you to zoom-in on Google Maps, explains Wired. It also helps Android phones determine whether the user is connected to the web via WiFi or 3G.

Such suits are nothing new in the world of Google. The company is currently warring with Apple, Microsoft and Oracle over similar patent issues. But still, one has to wonder whether such suits are inevitable.

When a company is as big as Google, should it expect perpetual litigation?

Maybe, maybe not. The BT lawsuit shows that large technology companies should expect worldwide scrutiny. BT owns 5,600 patents, many of which are composed of small snippets of code or physical technology.

It can take as many as 250,000 of those snippets to create a functioning smart phone. If a company has 20 complex tech products, how can it not accidentally infringe on another's patent?

It'd be pretty difficult, which is why the BT lawsuit is no surprise. In fact, you shouldn't be surprised if similar suits keep coming -- at Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and every other tech company out there.

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