Google acquires over 1,000 IBM patents

Google logoGoogle has acquired 1,000 patents from IBM.

According to the SEO by the Sea blog, which first reported the purchase, Google bought patents that stretch across several different markets, including one for "Web-based querying" and another for the "fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips." Google's newly acquired patents also relate to servers and routers, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The price tag for the patents hasn't been publicly disclosed.

Google's acquisition of IBM's patents is a consolation prize for the search giant. Late last month, Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and a few other companies announced that they had acquired 6,000 patents and patent applications from bankrupt telecom-equipment company Nortel Networks. Google had initially offered $900 million for that patent portfolio.

Following the loss, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google was trying to acquire wireless technology firm InterDigital. Google didn't comment on the report at the time, but InterDigital indicated in a statement earlier this month that it may want to capitalize on its increasingly valuable patent portfolio.

Google's desire to acquire mobile patents could be due to the general belief that the company's wireless patent portfolio is quite weak compared with those of its competitors. And that has helped a range of companies take aim at Google and its Android operating system.

Oracle last year filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Google, alleging that the company used Java-based technologies in its Android operating system. Earlier this month, Oracle was given the go-ahead to depose Google CEO Larry Page for that suit.

Apple has been especially vicious against Google's Android platform, targeting both Samsung and HTC for allegedly violating patents related to iOS in their Android-based devices. Microsoft has launched a patent-infringement lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, alleging that the company's use of Android violates patents that are "essential to the user experience." That lawsuit followed another from Microsoft against Motorola's use of Android in its mobile devices.

At this point, there's no telling how Google might use the IBM patents to bolster its defenses in the mobile market, or even whether it will at all. In a statement to CNET, a Google representative said that "like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business needs."

The representative also took the opportunity to take a shot at the recent rash of patent lawsuits hitting the industry, saying that "bad software patent litigation is a wasteful war that no one will win."

That comment echoes those Google has been making for quite some time. In April, the search giant's general counsel, Kent Walker, wrote in a blog post that the patent lawsuits are simply hurting innovation:

The tech world has recently seen an explosion in patent litigation, often involving low-quality software patents, which threatens to stifle innovation," Walker wrote in a blog post. "Some of these lawsuits have been filed by people or companies that have never actually created anything; others are motivated by a desire to block competing products or profit from the success of a rival's new technology. The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits.

Source: CNET

Tags: Google, IBM

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