Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm.

Google is right: The smartphone “patent bubble” is lame

Patents are becoming a pain in the butt for Google. So it seemed like only a matter of time before the company started a campaign for patent reform.

It just did, with a blog post by chief legal officer David Drummond. In it, he describes a “hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.”

It is lame that everyone in the smartphone industry is suing each other using old, silly patents that have little or nothing to do with recent innovation, to try to wring out settlements and drive up the costs of doing business.

If anything, Apple should be suing Google and its partners over important things, like copying its multi-touch UI — if Apple really invented and patented it. And companies that aren’t involved in making smartphones shouldn’t be suing those that are.

But this is what the system has enabled: Patent trolls, obvious and basic software patents, and old patents hurting new products. So until someone radically changes the system, that’s going to be part of competition. Google knew that enough to bid more than $3 billion on Nortel’s patents before losing.

I hope Google’s lawyers will be doing a lot more about this than just blogging.

Also: 4 lessons from Amazon’s Android Appstore