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Google gets defensive, buys IBM patents

Google has acquired more than 1,000 patents from IBM in a defensive move aimed at protecting itself from lawsuits.

"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," a Google representative said in a statement supplied to Network World.

The purchase, which was reported by the blog SEO by the Sea, was recorded with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 12 and 13. According to SEO by the Sea, the deal includes 1,030 granted patents from IBM covering 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."

RETROSPECTIVE: Best of Google Labs

Earlier this year Google tried to purchase more than 6,000 patent filings from Nortel but was unsuccessful. A consortium of tech companies including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony emerged as the winning bidder in the Nortel auction, paying $4.5 billion for the patents.

When Google placed its $900 million bid for the Nortel patent portfolio, it said the goal was to defend itself against patent litigation and to boost its technology innovation, specifically in its Android mobile platform and Chrome OS and browser.

"If successful, we hope this [Nortel] portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community -- which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome -- continue to innovate. In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it's the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners," Kent Walker, senior vice president and general counsel, said in a blog post in April.

Follow Ann Bednarz on Twitter: twitter.com/annbednarz

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.


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