It was reported yesterday that Skyhook Wireless, the company behind the location-technology used in numerous mobile devices and services, has filed a lawsuit against Google over the misuse of its patents and unfair practices related to Android.
Skyhook is seeking an injunction on Google’s interfering actions and patent infringement as well as “millions of dollars” in damages as a result. The company filed a business interference lawsuit in the Massachusetts Superior Court in Boston yesterday, and a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts after attempts to negotiate with Google were unsuccessful.
Skyhook claims that Google took advantage of its relationship with handset manufacturers, including Motorola, to block Skyhook’s positioning software from running on certain devices, which interfered with Skyhook’s contracts with Motorola and cost Skyhook millions. In the second lawsuit, Skyhook alleges that Google is infringing on four of its patents, and requests an injunction on Google’s Wi-Fi location software as well as damages. Here’s a segment from the lawsuit in which Skyhook slams Google over its practices and its own location technology:
“Skyhook and Google are competitors in the location positioning space. There was a time when Google tried to compete fairly with Skyhook. But 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, and to otherwise force device manufacturers to sacrifice superior end user experience with Skyhook by threatening directly or indirectly to deny timely and equal access to evolving versions of the Android operating system and other Google mobile applications.”
We’ll be following this one closely. It’s long been rumored that Skyhook would begin going after others in the industry who dabble with location, though Apple was always seen as its first target. Should be interesting to see how this one plays out.