Qualcomm gobbles Palm patents after rummaging around HP's backroom

Chip biz snaps up 2,400 protected designs from PC titan

Palm Pre Touchstone wireless charger

Mobile chipset maker Qualcomm has bought 2,400 patents from HP, including Palm and iPaq technology.

The processor baker announced that it had secured a deal with Meg Whitman's tech titan to land granted and pending patents covering stuff from Bitfone to Palm. Terms of the deal, including the price Qualcomm is set to shell out, were not disclosed.

The deal will include blueprints rubber-stamped by patent offices in the US and abroad: 1,400 of the granted and pending documents were filed in the US, and the remaining thousand in other parts of the world.

Qualcomm has not said how it will put its new patent war chest to use, though the company noted that the deal will include patents on "fundamental mobile operating system techniques" that could boost its licensing coffers.

The company has thus far been able to avoid much of the patent squabbling which has gripped the wireless hardware sector in particular, though it did lose a high-profile battle against ParkerVision in October.

HP, meanwhile, looks to unload another piece of a Palm business it paid $1.2bn to acquire in 2010 and then all but killed off just a year later. After being mothballed by HP management, Palm's flagship WebOS platform was eventually sold off to LG, where it has since been remade as a platform for the company's smart TV line.

After today's transaction, it appears that HP has all but rid itself of the last valuable remains of the brand it once sought as the jewel of its mobile strategy. ®

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