July 30, 2011

Over 1000 IBM Patents Acquired By Google

Google has acquired more than 1,000 patents from IBM during the month of July, Bill Slawski of the blog SEO by the Sea first reported on Thursday.

According to Slawski's report the Menlo Park, California-based company "recorded the assignment of 1,030 granted patents from IBM" on July 11 and 12. The patents cover "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. A number of the patents also cover relational databases, object oriented programming, and a wide array of business processes."

The acquisition was confirmed in an emailed statement sent from Google to Evelyn M. Rusli of the New York Times' DealBook blog, in which the tech giant said, "Like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business needs. Bad software patent litigation is a wasteful war that no one will win."

The acquisition of the IBM patents came less than a month after Google was unsuccessful in securing a cache of over 6,000 patents from Nortel Networks, a manufacturer of telecommunications equipment. The company, which had bid slightly over $3.14 billion for the patents, lost out to a consortium that included Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Research in Motion, and others. Those companies paid a combined $4.5 billion for the Nortel-owned patents.

According to Wall Street Journal Reporter Amir Efrati, Google spokespeople did not disclose the purchase price for the patent lot. Likewise, the Los Angeles Times said that an IBM representative declined to comment on the sale.

In an interview with TechCrunch on Monday, Google Senior Vice President & General Counsel Kent Walker called the Nortel transaction "the biggest patents sale in the history of the world," and hinted that Google was exploring other opportunities--which TechCrunch had speculated would involve Philadelphia-based telecom research and development firm InterDigital, not IBM.

"I don't know any of the financial details or the circumstances around Google's assignment of IBM's interest in the newly acquired patents, but it's not a bad start towards building a deeper patent portfolio," Slawski reported Thursday. "While I linked to patents above that focus upon search, there's a nice range and depth of intellectual property involved in this acquisition that has me wondering if Google has an interest in pursuing some new interests and innovations."


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