Google gobbles Big Blue IP stash
Patents: Both sword and shield in corporate combat
Having been rebuffed earlier this month in its effort to buy the patent portfolio from defunct telecom gear maker Nortel, search engine giant Google went trolling to fill its patent war chest and made a call to IBM, which has boatloads of IP.
According to a story broken yesterday by SEO by the Sea, two weeks after losing its $3.14159bn bid for the Nortel patents to a consortium backed by Apple, Microsoft, RIM, EMC, Ericsson and Sony that shelled out $4.5bn to beat Google. The Chocolate Factory had originally bid a mere $900m for the 6,000 Nortel patents and patent licenses – which covered wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, and semiconductor technologies.
SEO by the Sea reports that Google has licensed 1,030 patents from Big Blue, and carved out a number of patent assignments it could identify that related to search engines and other data munching. Subsequent to the story going live yesterday, Google released a statement saying that "like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business".
Contacted by El Reg, IBM would not confirm that it had had any discussions with Google, much less that it had actually sold anything to Google.
The patent assignments apparently happened in two batches on July 12 and 13, according to SEO by the Sea, and like the Nortel patents, the IBM ones cover all kinds of things, from microprocessor and memory chip manufacturing, server and router technology, object oriented programming, relational databases, business processes, and of course, data mining and search. ®
Soon to arrive in Ballmer's inbox.
We notice that your Bing search engine is currently violating 235 of our patents. This could result in various legal headaches for not only you, but your customers and anybody that licenses any violating technology from you. We're not going to tell you which patents we have identified you as being in violation of, but rest assured that our legal team has assured us that we have a very solid case.
We are reasonably compassionate though. We suggest that you leave Android and its associated Linux kernel well alone, and pay us a yearly license fee of (insert seven figure sum here). In return, if we do decide to start suing anybody, we will look the other way as far as your products are concerned.
Yours very VERY cheerily
Depends on whether they're licensing, or buying
If they are buying, then they don't have to be related to android, they just have to be related to things the opponents are doing. Its a cold war. The only way to win a cold war, is to have enough guns that the other guy is afraid to shoot.
That makes alot more sense. Google could have gone mad on the nortel stuff but didn't and said they weren't worried. Now I see why.