Sunday, September 28, 2008

Google's "bidding for cell phone service" patent application

Google's new patent application, Flexible Communication Systems and Methods (published application 20080232574, ap no 11/688145) has first claim:

A method of initiating a telecommunication session for a communication device, comprising:
(a) submitting to one or more telecommunication carriers a proposal for a telecommunication session;
(b) receiving from at least one of the one or more of telecommunication carriers a bid to carry the telecommunications session; and
(c) automatically selecting one of the telecommunications carriers from the carriers submitting a bid, and initiating the telecommunication session through the selected telecommunication carrier.

[The application as published did not have "(d)" before --initiating--]

CNET wrote:

Google's vision of tomorrow's wireless network is in stark contrast to how wireless operators do business today, setting the two sides on a possible collision course.

Earlier this week, the search giant filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent Office describing its vision of an open wireless network where smartphones aren't tied to any single cell phone network. In Google's open wireless world, phones and other wireless devices would search for the strongest, fastest connection at the most competitive price. Essentially, wireless operators' networks would be reduced to "dumb pipes."

Of course, CNET is wrong in writing: Earlier this week, the search giant filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent Office. The application was FILED last year, but published last week.

WIRED states of the new Google patent application:

Google's patent filing describes "devices, systems and methods" that would automatically poll nearby wireless services to find the best price for a voice or a data connection for a "portable communications device." That connection might come via a cellphone carrier, a WiMax provider, or even a Wi-Fi hotspot. According to the patent, users can either manually select the bid they like best or they can allow the device to connect automatically with the lowest-cost provider.

The upshot? Just as advertisers know they're always getting the market price for keywords on Google's AdWords system, wireless users would always get the market price for wireless data service -- or phone calls. The system could potentially free users from cellphone contracts and locked phones that tie them to one service provider and allow them to switch from one carrier to another, seamlessly, based on which carrier had the lowest price at that moment.

"It is an interesting notion," says Neil Strother, mobile analyst for Jupiter Research. "The idea would be that the device or system is smart enough that the switching could be invisible and in the background and, if they could patent it, it could be very disruptive."


Blogger JZ said...

I am currently conducting research on intellectual property issues related to Google's Android platform. My question is where I can find information about Google's patent licensing policy. Are there patent pooling agreements within the Open Handset Alliance? If this patent is granted (and not later invalidated), is Google likely to exercise exclusive rights to this technology? Thanks

10:07 AM  

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