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Eric Schmidt: ‘Patent wars are bad for innovation’ (unless Google starts them!)

Eric Schmidt: ‘Patent wars are bad for innovation’ (unless Google starts them!)

Google chairman Eric Schmidt, well known for being outspoken on all manner of tech issues, especially where Apple is concerned, sat down to an interview with AllThingsD last night. As usual, Schmidt had a lot to say.

The chairman touched on the “platform fight” between Apple and Android, calling it “the defining fight in the industry today.” He also made some comments about Apples maps, once again proclaiming that Apple should have stuck with Google Maps.

One of the things I found most interesting, however, were Schmidt’s comments on patents, related disputes between companies. From the interview:

As for patent battles, Schmidt said he couldn’t talk about them, for two reasons. First, he said, he doesn’t understand all the details; and second, the topic makes him too upset.

“These patent wars are death,” Schmidt said, noting that software is always overlapping, and that there are an estimated 200,000 patents covering the software industry. Schmidt said the impact is worse for small companies than it is for companies like Apple, Google and Samsung that can afford to protect their technolopgies.

“I think this is ultimately bad, bad for innovation. It eliminates choices.”

What’s interesting is that while Eric Schmidt tries so hard to sound noble about the matter, pretending to be the champion of comsumers everywhere, and frequently proclaiming his distaste for patents in general, he’s actually one of the worst offenders by far. As I stated just two weeks ago:

Of course, it’s not like Google (or Motorola Mobility, which they recently acquired) has ever taken anybody to court over patents? Oh, wait – they have (1, 234, etc.)! And I’m sure Google would sit back and do nothing if Apple launched a Google-like search engine.

It’s a convenient (though absolutely hypocritical) position for Google to take, considering that their Android platform violates no less than 17 of Apple and Microsoft’s mobile patents. Of course they don’t want people to sue them – who would?

What a two-faced slug.

Check out AllThingsD’s full transcript of the interview for all the details on Schmidt’s comments.