Skyhook Hits Google with Patent Lawsuit

| News

Skyhook, well known for its Wi-Fi-based location triangulation services, has filed a lawsuit against Google alleging the Internet search giant is infringing on patents it owns. The company filed a second lawsuit alleging Google has been forcing companies to drop Skyhook’s services in favor of its own, according to GigaOM.

The patent infringement suit was filed U.S. District Court in Massachusetts claimed Google has been infringing on four Skyhook patents. Skyhook is requesting an injunction to block Google’s competing Wi-Fi location tracking service and is also asking the court for damages.

Skyhook’s second lawsuit alleges that Google has been pressuring smartphone makers to drop its services in favor of Google’s own Wi-Fi-based location tracking service. According to the claim, Google pressured Motorola and other companies to drop Skyhook support in Android smartphones.

The lawsuit said in part

Once Google realized its positioning technology was not competitive, it chose other means to undermine Skyhook and damage and attempt to destroy its position in the marketplace for location positioning technology. In complete disregard of its common-law and statutory obligations, and in direct opposition to its public messaging encouraging open innovation, Google wielded its control over the Android operating system, as well as other Google mobile applications such as Google Maps, to force device manufacturers to use its technology rather than that of Skyhook, to terminate contractual obligations with Skyhook.

iPhone owners are already familiar with Skyhook since Apple used the the company’s service on early iPhone models in conjunction with Google’s map features so users could pinpoint their location. Apple has since moved on to use its own location tracking tools.

Google has promoted its Android OS as an open platform in contrast to Apple’s closed iOS platform. Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan, however, doesn’t think Android is quite as open as Google claims.

“The message that Android is open is certainly not entirely true,” he said. “Devices makers can license technology from other companies and then not be able to deploy it.”

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6 Comments Leave Your Own

Andrew

If google spent the money on making android why shouldn’t they make money on it?

Richard

That is because if you are calling yourself “open” it does not matter how much money you invest in you software.

daemon

That is because if you are calling yourself ?open? it does not matter how much money you invest in you software.

Android OS, which is owned by the Open Handset Alliance and not Google, is ‘open’.

Google Maps is not open.

BTW, thank god Skyhook is sueing Google over their patents on identifying your location based upon the geolocation of private WiFi networks (as in the network you have in your house). I hope Skyhook wins and forces Google to stop using such technology!

Terrin

Google is close to following in Microsoft’s anti-trust footsteps. This is almost identical to what Microsoft got in trouble for doing. Namely using it’s Windows monopoly to force hardware manufacturers to abandon Netscape in favor of Explorer.

Here Google profits from advertising. It doesn’t want to have to compete with another company over advertising. It makes money of locational services, and isn’t going to compete with another company over those services.

That might be fine an dandy if Google wasn’t claiming Android is open and can be used by hardware manufacturers as they see fit. Google will likely lose this suit.

On a side note has anybody noticed how much Google’s Chrome calls home compared to any other browser. I use Little Snitch and Chrome calls home repeatedly in the same session where browsers like Safari only call home periodically on a monthly basis to check for an update. .

Richard

Sure it is…

If there are 78 technology and mobile companies in the “alliance” what are Google doing controlling the approval process?

It is just another closed system masquerading as open, like OpenID.

daemon

If there are 78 technology and mobile companies in the ?alliance? what are Google doing controlling the approval process?

Approval process for what?

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