Google is used to getting their way. The multi-billion dollar corporation has a knack for doing whatever it pleases and escaping with little consequence, regardless of the law.
A years long investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concluded Google engaged in abusive trade practices. The punishment? A letter from Google promising they won’t do it again. While many conservatives might argue against anti-trust laws, they are in fact the laws under which everyone, except Google apparently, must operate.
In 2011 the Department of “Justice” wrapped up an investigation that found that Google knowingly violated federal law for 10 YEARS by promoting the sales and importation of illegal prescription drugs. The investigation proved that executives, including CEO Eric Schmidt, knew that it was happening and were aware that it was illegal. The penalty? Give back the money you made on those transactions.
Google’s good fortune is no accident. They’ve invested heavily in all the right places.
Google employees gave millions to both Obama campaigns and to Democrat campaign committees. Google’s Eric Schmidt help recruit talent for O’s campaign and even coached campaign manager Jim Messina. The White House is heavily populated with former Google employees and Google his helping Obama fix his failed Healthcare.gov website.
Now, they have a new scheme known as the “Covered Business Method” (CBM) review process and they are calling in favors to get it. CBM would allow Google to avoid being sued for infringing on someone else’s patent by simply challenging the validity of the patent. Normally, patents can only be challenged for nine months after they are granted. The provision sought by Google would allow them to challenge patents anytime for any reason. Worse yet, Google would get to keep using the patented technology while the validity of the patent was being reviewed.
Google thought they had it made when they successfully snuck the provision into a patent bill moving through Congress. The Innovation Act is intended to reign in trial lawyers filing frivolous lawsuits. Fortunately, Rep. Robert Goodlatte, Chairman of the Judiciary, removed the Google provision before the bill was passed out of committee.
But Google remains undaunted. Many close to the patent legislation expect Google to call in some favors and are enlisting allies to do their bidding by offering an amendment on the House flop to insert CBM back into the bill.
This is an important battle for conservatives to watch. Republican leadership’s reaction to this will be very telling. Will they stand with job creators and innovators or with Google’s K-Street lobbyists? Some in Republican leadership have openly courted a relationship with Silicon Valley, including Google. But courting Silicon Valley should not mean doing special favors for the president’s favorite corporation. The outcome of Google’s attempt to take over the Innovation Act for their own purposes will reveal whether or not Republicans have abandoned principle to join the Google bandwagon. There can be no legitimate defense for Republicans enabling a Google crony capitalist power grab.