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Google Snaps Up More IBM Patents

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

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Google is on the patent hunt once again, this time snapping up another 217 patents from IBM

Google continues to build up its patents after acquiring another tranche of patents from IBM, covering a variety of things including mobile devices and browser widgets.

The SEO by the Sea blog found that Google acquired more than 217 patents from IBM at the end of 2011. Bill Slawski, author of the blog that focuses on search and SEO issues, said in the last week of 2011, Google acquired 188 granted patents and 29 published pending patent applications from IBM, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) assignment database.

The transaction occurred on 28 December.

Patent Acquisition

Last summer, Google acquired more than 2,000 patents from IBM. In July Google acquired 1,030 IBM patents, another 1,022 in August and another 41 in September. Google has been amassing an arsenal of patents to gird itself for battles such as the one it is fighting with Oracle over Android.

Of the new batch of patents Google acquired, Slawski said:

“The patents cover a broad range of topics, such as presentation software, blade servers, data caching, server load balancing, network performance, video conferencing, email administration, and instant messaging applications. A number of the patents cover specific internet, phone, and mobile phone technologies as well.”

Google’s newly acquired patents from IBM include patents for:

  • Method And Apparatus For Dynamically Modifying Web Page Display For Mobile Devices (US Patent # 7400316)
  • Mobile Wireless Device Adaptation Based On Abstracted Contectual Situation Of User Using Near-Field Communications And Information Collectors (US Patent # 7729689)
  • System And Method For Generating High-Function Browser Widgets With Full Addressability (US Patent # 7269792)
  • System And Method For Manufacturing And Updating Insertable Portable Operating System Module (US Patent # 7225440)
  • Transfer Of Web Applications Between Devices (US Patent # 7526559)
  • Using Semantic Networks To Develop A Social Network (US Patent # 7865592)
  • Computer Phone (US Patent # 7499726)

Big Blue Patent Bank

Overall, the acquisition of new patents will help Google fend off potential lawsuits, as the company increases the number of patents that cover technologies in its possession.

Last July, technology patent watcher Florian Mueller, author of the FOSS Patents blog, said one possible early use for the patents Google acquired from IBM could be to negotiate some kind of cross-patent deal with Oracle that could hasten a settlement to the lawsuit Oracle has levelled against Google over the use of Java in Google’s Android mobile operating system.

IBM can afford to shed or share some of its patents. Big Blue has led the pack in terms of patents granted for the last 18 years and is likely to be the frontrunner again when the numbers come out for 2011. In 2010, IBM received a record 5,896 patents to become the first company to be granted as many as 5,000 US patents in a given year.