Google, the internet search giant, who is also the brains behind the popular Android operating system, has updated the database of their patent search services. Not only will it cover US patents, but it will also now cover a larger database including European patents. This will surely become an integral tool for those looking to defend themselves from a possible patent issue, or to assert their rights by checking if they can patent something they thought of.
Typically, a patent is granted to an inventor if the invention is new and unique. The problem is no matter how ‘rigorous’ these patent offices are in checking for prior art, or for earlier inventions that will invalidate the claim, some still get through. This improvement from Google into patent searches will definitely prove to be a boon in improving the efficiency of the patent office and the prevention of duplicate claims.
Google has also added a prior art finder, which will allow the user to find anything that might negate a patent claim due to prior art.
The interesting thing regarding this patent search capability, as well as the prior art finder, is it looks to offer a silent hand in defense of the many manufacturing partners that Google deals with in regards to the ongoing patent brawl that revolves around Apple and Android products. With this new Google update, it will be easier for lawyers to find evidence in disproving a claim, by finding prior art references through the internet.
Google is quite aware of the ongoing litigation spree problem that arose due to low quality patents and patents with prior art being granted to certain parties. How can they not notice it when their Android manufacturers are haunted by such patent attacks lately? Some Android functionality has already been forcefully removed just to give way to patent claims. While it is true that some of these claims are valid, at some point, many of these attacks can be deflected by finding the right prior art that can disprove its validity.
Hopefully, Android manufacturers will be able to use this in preventing future litigation, if not to protect them from current ones. Google may not want to directly confront these patent troll out there, but at the very least, they are providing the tools that they need so that others can find their ways through a patent attack.
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