Skyhook Hits Google with Patent Lawsuit

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.”