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Google's Brin Wants to Ban Patent Trolls

Google's co-founder wants to get rid of business process patents, shorten protection periods.

Asa Mathat

Google co-founder Sergey Brin took square aim at the shortcomings of U.S. patent law during his onstage interview at the Code Conference, saying the system “could be improved greatly, by many metrics.”

Specifically, he argued that business process patents, which cover new methods of doing business, should be eliminated. Brin added that patent holders should be required to put the protected technology to use, taking issue with what he called “patent trolls,” who often lock up intellectual property for the purpose of charging for its use, usually under threat of lawsuit.

He also said that patent protections, which can last nearly two decades, should be shortened in many cases.

Google’s Android mobile operating software has been at the center of numerous intellectual property battles, notably the ongoing legal war between Apple and Samsung.

So far, three U.S. juries have awarded Apple more than a billion dollars in damages. However, Apple has failed to win any lasting sales ban on Samsung products and various settlement talks have failed to produce an accord.

Separately, Google and Apple recently settled a series of lawsuits involving Google’s Motorola unit, which is being sold to Lenovo.

Re/code’s Ina Fried contributed to this report.

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