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February 14, 2013

Google Files Patent Lawsuit Against BT Group

Google and its holding Motorola Mobility filed countersuits Wednesday against BT Group Plc — nearly one year after being accused by the British firm of patent infringement.

BT, a telecommunications firm, sued Google in 2011 for alleged violation of six mobile technology patents. Google, in lawsuits filed in both a California federal court and a U.K. court listed infringement of four patents.

“We have always seen litigation as a last resort, and we work hard to avoid lawsuits,” spokeswoman Niki Fenwick told Reuters in an e-mail. “But BT has brought several meritless patent claims against Google and our customers — and they’ve also been arming patent trolls.”

Patent troll is a term used to describe a company that enforces its patents against alleged violators in an overly aggressive or unscrupulous manner, often with no plan to manufacture or market the product.

BT says the Android mobile platform, Gmail e-mail service and Google Maps all violate BT’s mobile patents. That lawsuit is still pending in a Delaware federal court.

Google has also been sued in a Virginia federal court by Suffolk Technologies LLC. Court filings show one of the patents being asserted by Suffolk was previously owned by BT.

Google’s U.S. lawsuit claims BT is violating Google patents covering technology such as networking and making phone calls over the Internet.