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Google's Nexus 7 Already in Patent Hot Water?

Google's 7-inch Jelly Bean-fueled Nexus 7 isn't even a week old, yet the patent police have already swarmed in on the device, barking accusations of infringement. The most vocal thus far is Nokia which recently told The Inquirer that both Google and Asus have not licensed unspecified patents for the upcoming tablet.

"Nokia has more than 40 licensees, mainly for its standards essential patent portfolio, including most of the mobile device manufacturers," a spokesperson said. "Neither Google nor Asus is licensed under our patent portfolio. Companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license."

There's speculation that the patents in question involve the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard, but so far the patents in question are unconfirmed. An Asus spokesperson also refused to comment, saying, "at the moment, Asus will not be providing any response/comment related."

FOSS Patents reports that Google and Asus will see additional patent infringement claims from Apple and Microsoft. Given Apple's two wins last week in its case against Samsung which led to the banning of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus in the States, the company will likely find something that violates its own portfolio.

Microsoft is reportedly another entity that may or may not claim patent infringement. There's speculation that a direct licensing deal isn't established between Google and Microsoft, but there may be one in place with Pegatron, whose shareholders include Asus, Google's partner for the Nexus 7. If it covers Google's tablet, then all is well -- if not, Google may need to negotiate sooner with Microsoft rather than later.

As for Nokia, the company is reportedly asserting a number of its IEEE 802.11 patents in a lawsuit against Viewsonic in Germany -- it's also suing HTC and RIM. "Nokia is such a large patent holder in this industry that even Apple took a royalty-bearing license," FOSS Patents reports. "But Google and Asus are not among the 'more than 40 licensees' Nokia referred to in a recent press release."

Because of these patent issues, Google may be forced to increase the price of both Nexus 7 tablets. Offering the 8 GB for $199 and the 16 GB for $249, Google supposedly doesn't make any money from the hardware, relying on software sales instead. But if found guilty, these price points may not be sustainable.

And the Patent Age continues....