Google Praises Apple, Says Apple Should Share Its Inventions


Google General Counsel Kent Walker has argued in a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that proprietary technologies that become extremely popularity with consumers should be considered “de facto standards”, reports AllThingsD. In simple worlds, Google thinks that simply because an Apple technology is extremely popular with consumers e.g multitouch technology or slide-to-unlock, doesn’t mean Apple has to get it patented and then license that technology to competitors. However as noted by the source, Tim Cook would strongly disagree as he has always said that he wants other companies to “invent their own stuff” and that Apple shouldn’t be “inventor for the world”.

From General Counsel’s letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

The capabilities of an iPhone are categorically different from a conventional phone, and result from Apple’s ability to bring its traditional innovation in computing to the mobile market. Using an iPhone to take photos, manage a home-finance spreadsheet, play video games, or run countless other applications has nothing to do with standardized protocols. Apple spent billions in research and development to create the iPhone, and third party software developers have spent billions more to develop applications that run on it. 

As the source details the argument:

In other words, Google’s view is that just as there are patents that are standards essential, there are also patents that are commercially essential — patents that cover features that are so popular as to have become ubiquitous. The latter are just as ripe for abuse as the former, and withholding them is just as harmful to consumers and the competitive marketplace. Viewed through that lens, multitouch technology or slide-to-unlock might be treated the same way as an industry standard patent on, say, a smartphone radio.

This argument, of course, has massive implications for Apple, which has developed a treasure trove of what might be considered by some as commercially essential IP around the iPhone and iPad. And the company was quick to take severe exception to it

Apple has declined to comment on this letter, says the source, while Google declined as well saying that its letter to the Judiciary Committee “speaks for itself.”


  • einsteinbqat

    Since it has become extremely popular, widely used, de facto standard, even a verb, Google should share it search algorithm! It’s only fair after all!

  • K3

    most important part of the letter – “pretty please, will they share with us”

  • K3

    wait- didn’t Google not too long ago bi pass Apple security settings? Google is right let’s share. wtf.

  • biytashfd


  • xxJDxx

    I totally agree. While many feel that this “hurt competition” and apple needs to “innovate not sue”, thats easy to say as a consumer who is only going to benefit from more options. But where is the motivation to spend the kind of money they do on R&D when their ideas are immediately stolen by their competitors?

  • gerry

    I don’t see why Apple has to be so greedy. They know they’ll always create far more superior products than other companies, least give others a chance to showcase their inventive skills. Of course not everyone can afford to buy Apple products and gives consumers a relief in cost to buy a (competitor’s) product that will ‘do the job’ for the individual’s need at an affordable price.

  • Dave B.

    Amazing and stupid that Google would take this position. It Is paramount to an admission that Apple owns significant IP related the smartphones that is essential for use if someone were to compete with Apple in the space. Essentially they are admitting that Apple created the touch screen smartphone market (as we know it) and that it would probably be a product rather than a market if competitors were not infringing. Amazingly stupid.

  • Dave B.

    You’re kidding right?

  • Tired8281

    I don’t see why Apple, Google, and Microsoft don’t just cross-license everything to each other. The amount they would save on lawyer fees and court costs wouldn’t be a small amount, and they could cherry-pick the best technologies for the consumer, regardless of which logo was on the door of the engineer who thought it up.

  • Gavin

    Instead of he said she said, let’s look at the IP they’ve talking about. Slide to unlock? On a phone with no bounds, Swyping your finger across the screen is a valuable invention that apple should be able to monopolize, and no one should be able to create a touch screen device that unlocks by Swyping your finger across it? Ridiculous. Ios, sure. Apps, sure. Algorithms, sure. But if you can patent skidding your finger on a touch screen, there’s something wrong with that.

  • Gavin

    I meant “on a phone without BUTTONS”, not without bounds…

  • it is still an invention. It is popular and well know to all of us and it has became a norm but 5 years ago it was revolutionary.

  • are you?! You have to be? It is like saying it is okay to steal from Walmart because they have money.

  • Hassan

    I think software side YES apple should show more generosity and should allow other dumps to copy cos they just want to make money they don’t want to invent anything cos they don’t have wil to do that.
    But hardware NO apple should be more strict and should not allow others to copy,
    What did u gaits say????

  • Jurassic

    In other words, what Google is saying is: “If we infringe Apple’s non-standards based, proprietary patents, and make these stolen inventions popular on our products, then we should be rewarded for these infringements and this should automatically turn Apple’s proprietary inventions into standards-based FRAND patents.”

    Google has balls. No brains… but balls. 😀

  • Jurassic

    Why stop at Google’s search algorithm?

    Google should freely share all of its other “popular” software code for desktop and Web applications as well. 😉

  • kameko

    thats ridiculous. so i guess if i decide to start up my own company, i should be allowed to get all of MS/google/apples intellectual property for free and sell it as my own?

  • Tired8281

    Only if your company is named Apple, Google, or Microsoft. The point is that these companies all have so much to bring to the table; they can either sue each other for years and years, or figure out some other solution. When your startup has as many patents and relevant technologies as these guys, then you might be in a position to make a similar arrangement. As it is now, only the lawyers are winning, everyone else loses.

  • Anonymous Guy

    Apple is the only company bringing major innovations to the table. Everyone else is a copy-cat. Tell me what exactly has Google and Microsoft brought to the table in the past 5 years?

  • Tired8281

    You’re probably trolling, but I’ll answer anyways. A quick patent search shows Google Inc with about 68,400 patents in the last five years, and Microsoft with over a million. Apple has 174,000; a few more than Google but way less than Microsoft. There’s a great article on Ars Technica today, talking about how many hundreds of dollars per hour Apple’s lawyers ($526/hr) and Samsung’s lawyers ($592/hr) cost in their ongoing disputes, and my position is that almost any use for that money would be better than wasting it on lawyers.