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Google grabs yet more patents from IBM war chest

Instant message take-back IP among new lawsuit ammo

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Google continues to fill up its sack of patents, once again with the help of IBM, bagging scores of patents from the tech titan.

The Chocolate Factory already loaded its litigation guns with 2,053 patents from IBM in two transactions in July and August last year, and now records at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) show a further 222 patents moving over to Google.

Neither IBM nor Google has ever released information on the money changing hands for these intellectual property (IP) transactions.

The search engine giant wasn't all that interested in patents before Android, but since entering the lucrative smartphone sector, finding itself popular and promptly getting indirectly sued by Apple, Google has started acquiring what IP it can in order to protect its mobile OS.

Apple has a large number of patent suits on the go against Android phones, usually through manufacturing partners like Samsung, Motorola and HTC, rather than directly against Google.

As well as tapping IBM for patents, Google also expects to come into around 17,000 patents if its marriage with Motorola Mobility is approved.

Google had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

The latest lot of IBM patents, first reported by website SEO by the Sea, include ones that deal with emailing, calendars and web apps, as well as a number of patents to do with wireless telephony.

They also include some IP that Google could use for future features in its offerings, including a method to retrieve an instant message sent by mistake, a way to predict future travel times on a transportation network and a process to contextualise your smartphone by giving it information about where you are and what you're doing using near-field communications and "information collectors" - all of which could make some nifty apps.

Aside from stuff that might be good for the user, the Chocolate Factory has also picked up some patents that could help its bottom line, such as a method of playing audible advertisements to mobile users before they make a call. ®

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