#Android: Patent protection advocate seeks to halt Nortel patent sale | Computerworld New Zealand:
The leader of the Open Invention Network has put out an all-call to help it fight the pending sale of Nortel's patent portfolio to a consortium of vendors led by Apple and Microsoft. Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN, wants developers and users to step up and share their viewpoints and stories with the US Department of Justice, which is investigating the sale. The pending sale is currently under regulatory approval but the consortium hopes to close the deal in the third quarter.
At issue is if the new owners of the patents would use the patents to sue for patent infringement in order to hinder the growth of Android and other up-and-coming open source mobile devices. If so, this could lead to injunctions against Android, or could force companies into paying licence fees. Bergelt believes that competitors of Android, particularly Microsoft and Apple, are angling to use patents to create a "tax" on open source mobile platforms. Their fees would be much higher than the cost of licensing Windows Phone 7, he says.
"The licence fee is US$15 for WP7. These companies are looking for $30/$40/$50 of licensing 'tax' to try and change the behaviors of device makers and carriers. There's a point where Android becomes uneconomic," he told attendees of LinuxCon during a session entitled "Patents and the Latest in Consumer Electronics."