Feeds

Google nabs patents from defunct mini-phone maker

Pays $4.9 million for Modu shell

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.