Google Buys 1,000 IBM Patents To Aid Android Defence

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Google continues its attempts to shore up Android with the purchase of 1,023 patents from IBM

Google continues its efforts to shore up Android by increasing its patent portfolio, with the latest move to acquire more than 1,000 patents from IBM.

Specifically the search engine giant bought 1,023 patents from IBM in mid August, a fact discovered by the SEO by the Sea blog, and confirmed by the records filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website.

The patents are said to including those for Java scripting, wireless technology, circuit design, desktop and server hardware, and web search. Google is now thought to own approximately 20,000 patents, according to USPTO records.

Hostile Campaign

The patent acquisition spree comes as a number of mobile manufacturers using Android (most notably Samsung and HTC) face a barrage of lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft, Nokia and even Oracle. This has led many to question whether there is a campaign to kill off Android.

Indeed, that is the view of Google after its chief legal officer David Drummond last month hit out at Apple, Microsoft and Oracle, accusing them of colluding in order to hamper Android. He specifically accused Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and others of conducting a hostile, organised campaign waged through bogus patents.

Only last week it was revealed that HTC had acquired some of Google’s own patents, in order for it to expand its defence against Apple’s legal attacks.

HTC meanwhile has hinted it could acquire a mobile operating system of its own, such as WebOS or MeeGo, presumably if its legal battle goes badly for the Taiwanese smartphone maker.

Patent Spree

Of course Google has been actively seeking to build up its own patent portfolio in recent months. In July it was comprehensively outbid for 6,000 valuable Nortel patents by a consortium that included Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Google had originally bid $900 million (£560m) in cash for the patents back in April, but in the end the consortium paid a whooping $4.5billion (£2.7bn) for the patents.

But Google was not going to take that lying down, and in August it revealed it was acquiring  Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion (£7.7bn). That deal alone gained Google approximately 17,000 patents.

And let’s not forget of course that Google previously acquired 1,030 patents from IBM in early July, as noted by the SEO by the Sea blog.

It said at that time that the patents from IBM covered a range of topics, from the fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips, to other areas of computer architecture including servers and routers as well.

Apparently some the patents also covered relational databases, object oriented programming, and a wide array of business processes.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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