Feeds

Google nabs patents from defunct mini-phone maker

Pays $4.9 million for Modu shell

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google has paid $4.9 million to acquire the patents of defunct Israeli phone maker Modu, according to a report from an Israeli newspaper.

Calcalist reports (Google Translate) that the web giant will purchase "dozens" of patents from the shell of Modu after a deal was approved by an Israeli court.

When we asked Google to confirm the purchase, it was non-committal. "Like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business." The purchase is presumably part of Google's effort to better defend Android against legal attack. Last month, Nortel announced that Google had bid $900m to acquire its patent portfolio, and Google has said it hopes to use the Nortel portfolio to protect not only Google but also partners and open source developers working on projects such as Android and Chrome.

Google's bid will serve as a starting point when Nortel auctions off its patent portfolio. Nortel filed for bankruptcy two years ago, and the company's creditors hope to raise over a billion dollars from the sale of the portfolio.

"As things stand today, one of a company’s best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services," Google said in a blog post. "Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories."

According to patent watcher Florian Muller, Google's Android mobile operating system is the subject of 37 separate lawsuits. Muller and others say that one of the reasons Android has been attacked so often is that Google's patent portfolio is relatively weak.

Founded in 2007 by Israeli Dov Moran, Modu sold a tiny, lightweight phone that could slide in and out of different "jackets" that provided additional tools. The primary device had footprint about the size of a credit card and weighted 1.5 grams. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.