Google has confirmed that its software patent protection scheme in the country is not yet complete.
In a blog post on Wednesday, the company said it has received “many” of the applications it is expecting to receive from UK government authorities, including one that seeks to block patents on software that would infringe on the patents of others.
“In the next few days we will receive applications from UK courts for our software patents, which we have been working on for several years,” Google said in the blog post.
The company noted that it expects to complete this phase of its patent protection in “early 2018”.
“Our patent protection program is not complete, so while we have received a fair number of applications, we are not yet certain whether we will be able to complete the process,” Google added.
Software patents have been a thorn in the side of tech companies for years, with the US Federal Circuit ruling in October 2015 that Apple’s iOS operating system infringed on a patent covering “methods for providing content to the iPhone.”
In a statement to TechCrunch, a Google spokesperson said that “while we are pleased that UK courts have issued the first round of patent applications to our products, we remain concerned that the patenting system is not currently functioning in the United Kingdom as it should.”
“We are working closely with the relevant authorities and will share further details on our progress in the coming weeks,” the spokesperson added.
“We have received many applications from the UK courts to support our patent rights, and will be filing additional patents in order to protect the value of our products.”
In October 2015, Apple filed a lawsuit against Google in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), arguing that Google’s Android operating system, which Apple had purchased for $1.3 billion in 2014, infringed a patent related to the creation of “content for the iPhone”.
Apple filed the suit in the ECJ on behalf of Android users around the world, alleging that Google infringed the patent by selling its software.