Google Snaps Up (More) IBM Patents

Wednesday, January 4th 2012. | Internet News

Google has snapped up more patents from IBM, including those that focus on social networks, mobile tech, and identifying similarties between users.

As reported by the BBC, Google purchased 187 patents and 36 apps for an undisclosed sum. One patents covers a system for “using semantic networks to develop a social network,” the BBC said, while another would help identify “common interests between users of a communication network.”

Google Snaps Up (More) IBM also has a longer list of the patents.

In September, Google purchased more than 1,000 patents from IBM in an effort to build up its patent portfolio and defend Android against numerous patent lawsuits.

While patents might seem like a rather boring topic, Google views having a strong patent portfolio as key to protecting its growing Android operating system. At this very moment, there are a variety of ongoing patent suits against Android-based systems, including those filed by Microsoft, which owns Android-related technology.

Patents were a big part of Google’s August decision to purchase Motorola Mobility; the company brought with its at least 17,000 patents. At the time, Google accused rivals like Apple and Microsoft of collectively purchasing patents in order to thwart the growth of Android.

In July, a consortium of tech rivals purchased 6,000 wireless technology patents held by Nortel. Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research in Motion, and Sony joined forces to purchase the patents, which cover wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, service provider, semiconductors, and other patent portfolios. That came after Google said it would make a “stalking horse” bid worth $900 million for the Nortel patents in order to bulk up its patent portfolio. But rivals like Microsoft, AT&T, and Verizon argued that the patents would give the search giant an unfair advantage, and Google eventually lost out.

Microsoft and Apple also teamed up to purchase patents from Novell, along with Oracle and EMC. The Justice Department, however, required them to alter the deal because “as originally proposed, the deal would jeopardize the ability of open source software, such as Linux, to continue to innovate and compete in the development and distribution of server, desktop, and mobile operating systems, middleware, and virtualization products.”

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