Google fires back at British Telecom in patent row

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 15 2013 08:55 AM | Updated as of Feb 15 2013 04:55 PM

SAN FRANCISCO - Google fired back at British telecom titan BT Group in US and British courts Wednesday, escalating a year-old patent battle.

"We have always seen litigation as a last resort, and we work hard to avoid lawsuits," Google said in a statement.

"But, BT has brought several meritless patent claims against Google and our customers -- and they've also been arming patent trolls. When faced with these kinds of actions, we will defend ourselves."

Patent trolls are seen as those who get hold of legal rights to technology to profit from litigation, or the threat thereof, rather than apply innovations to products.

Google has accused BT of "patent privateering," a practice where rights to technology are transferred for purposes of suing not building products.

Lawsuits filed by Google in US District Court in California and in Britain accuse BT of infringing on patents related to managing computer networks and Internet telephony, according to legal documents.

BT sued Google in December 2011, accusing the Internet giant of infringing on half a dozen US patents involving communication, maps and storing data such as music.

The British firm declined to comment on the pending litigation.

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