Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Google Acquires 1,030 Patents From IBM

By - Source: SEO by the Sea | B 18 comments

Google may have passed on the recent Nortel patent feeding frenzy, and allowed Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion, Ericsson, Sony, and EMC to buy a huge patent package with more than 6000 individual patents for $4.5 billion in cash.

However, Google isn't standing still and recently purchased 1030 patents from IBM's virtually infinite patent portfolio. It is a significant step for Google and more than doubles the company's current patent holdings.

For Google, this purchase has less to do with actual technology licensing, but more of a move to protect itself from lawsuits. According to SEO by the Sea, the IBM package includes patents relating to the fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips, to other areas of computer architecture including servers and routers as well. There is a decent chunk of patents relating to search technology, and could also be used to improve the defenses for its core search business. For IBM, which has been known to be building a business out of patents, it is not a particularly large loss; the number of patents sold is below than what the company typically gets granted in a 3 month period.

There was no note of the purchase price, but the overall purchase may fuel speculation whether Google is interested in moving into new markets that it does not address at this time. Why would Google be interested in the fabrication of memory and microprocessors? Perhaps those patents just came with the deal, and may not relate to Google's intentions - especially since CEO Larry page recently said that Google is going to focus on its core strengths?

Discuss
Display all 18 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    Silmarunya , July 29, 2011 10:12 PM
    There was a time when a patent existed to protect an inventor from copycats or to ensure a pharmaceutical company had an incentive to research drugs with a small target market.

    And then lawyers took over the world. And the high tech industry started growing. Soon, a patent became a vague legal document used as a weapon in expensive skirmishes between bitter tech moguls and their greedy legal departments.

    Where is that patent reform we need so badly? We still use patents the way we used them when they were simply technical descriptions of an invention, not a vague text written in legalese that is as open to interpretation as the Bible.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    webbwbb , July 29, 2011 9:49 PM
    Its just speculation, but it may be something they can use against Apple. Apple is moving into microprocessor architecture and suing Google partners over Android. If Google gets patents that Apple may be violating they may be able to join partners in suits and countersue over these newer patents. I essentially see it as away of protecting the Android ecosystem.
  • 22 Hide
    Silmarunya , July 29, 2011 10:12 PM
    There was a time when a patent existed to protect an inventor from copycats or to ensure a pharmaceutical company had an incentive to research drugs with a small target market.

    And then lawyers took over the world. And the high tech industry started growing. Soon, a patent became a vague legal document used as a weapon in expensive skirmishes between bitter tech moguls and their greedy legal departments.

    Where is that patent reform we need so badly? We still use patents the way we used them when they were simply technical descriptions of an invention, not a vague text written in legalese that is as open to interpretation as the Bible.
  • 0 Hide
    bustapr , July 29, 2011 10:35 PM
    well, we just have to be thankful that it was Google who bought those patents
  • 0 Hide
    f-14 , July 29, 2011 11:46 PM
    considering apple used to use IBM products for their products, it will be interesting to see if these patents are leased to apple, microsoft, rim, ericsson, sony, and emc. would be interesting when the lease goes up to see if they can be used as leverage, a counter or a strangle hold on them by google.
  • 3 Hide
    dalethepcman , July 30, 2011 1:46 AM
    Apple Lawyers: "Lets make lawsuits against every handset manufacturer, even ones that supply us with processors, screens, tech, and fabrication facilities to prevent them from selling their own stuff. That way we can sell way more iDevices."

    One year later... Every other company's lawyers : "Lets have lunch and combine our patent portfolios to prove Apple stole everything they currently use form us."

    One month later... Apple lawyers "F@!% me!"
  • 0 Hide
    ravewulf , July 30, 2011 2:25 AM
    You wouldn't patent the way you get dressed in the morning, would you?

    All software patents need to be invalidated
  • 6 Hide
    DjEaZy , July 30, 2011 3:46 AM
    ... patents slows down innovation...
  • 0 Hide
    Zingam , July 30, 2011 6:25 AM
    Why does Google have so little patents but it is still a big company? Because it is new! Because of this patent system it might be soon impossible for start up companies to exist. If it goes on like that for another decade it will become impossible to start a new business with less then several millions in cache just for patents.
  • 4 Hide
    Zingam , July 30, 2011 6:26 AM
    USA is not a democracy! It is a lawyer dictatorship!
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , July 30, 2011 7:25 AM
    Quote:
    the number of patents sold is below than what the company typically gets granted in a 3 month period


    wow...what on earth do they do there...
  • -1 Hide
    ericburnby , July 30, 2011 4:49 PM
    Funny, it's always the people who are the LEAST innovative who complain about patent reform. Patents don't stifle innovation - it's the exact opposite. No company will ever spend huge $$$ on R&D if there's no way for them to protect the IP they gained from all that R&D.

    Do people forget where Google came from? They were a company founded on a SINGLE SOFTWARE PATENT. Without that patent they never would have gotten funding to start up their business. Now it's really funny that Google is calling for patent reform when they owe their existence to software patents.

    I guess when it serves them software patents are great, but when used against them software patents are evil. Google is the biggest hypocrite in the world when talking about patent reform.

    Anyone remember when the term 'Googling' in Silicon Valley was used to refer to a company that gets millions in funding with no business plan? That was the joke going around when Google received $25 million in funding based simply on an "idea" and a "software patent".
  • 0 Hide
    bobiseverywhere , July 30, 2011 5:33 PM
    Google has memory manufactured for it's server farm's on mass. Instead of purchasing the memory they buy the chips and have they're own memory made i would bet that some of these patents have something to do with this.
  • 1 Hide
    Silmarunya , July 30, 2011 9:26 PM
    ericburnbyFunny, it's always the people who are the LEAST innovative who complain about patent reform. Patents don't stifle innovation - it's the exact opposite. No company will ever spend huge $$$ on R&D if there's no way for them to protect the IP they gained from all that R&D.Do people forget where Google came from? They were a company founded on a SINGLE SOFTWARE PATENT. Without that patent they never would have gotten funding to start up their business. Now it's really funny that Google is calling for patent reform when they owe their existence to software patents.I guess when it serves them software patents are great, but when used against them software patents are evil. Google is the biggest hypocrite in the world when talking about patent reform.Anyone remember when the term 'Googling' in Silicon Valley was used to refer to a company that gets millions in funding with no business plan? That was the joke going around when Google received $25 million in funding based simply on an "idea" and a "software patent".


    The problem is many modern software concepts are extremely vague and poorly defined. How on earth can you patent 'a way of interacting with something'?

    Nobody doubts getting a patent on an AC motor or a search algorithm is a good thing. In fact, it's one of the driving forces behind progress. But the patents Apple, Google and co use in their lawsuits aren't such descriptions of an invention; they are vague descriptions nobody that are written in legalese and left open to interpretation on purpose.

    Thousands upon thousands of patents owned by every major tech company aren't patents in the conventional meaning of the word: they are nothing more than meatshields for use in legal battles.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 30, 2011 11:03 PM
    Software patents are dumb. So are electrical engineering patents.

    The idea that you can patent something like "using XML to [insert trivial task] in a [certain application]", or that you can arrange your transistors in a certain way that nobody should be allowed to do for 100 years is just mind boggling.
  • 0 Hide
    K-zon , July 31, 2011 8:26 PM
    Well, google is getting bigger, to say, and of it is the access of many things. Within its own rights to say to aviod being suied is probably better in part of saying of purchase of some interests to help ensure say its own place of business within ideas of limited market "diminishes" . To say anyways, given that being sued may be only part of some issues. Right?

    Google also i think was a collaboration effort of "build" to say or start. Why it might be concerned of such interest against most its use of say to say. Probably on the idea in which the area of purchase covers sometimes. But hard saying specifically yes, without, Googling say, "Today we've decided to buy out half of many know companies interest within product and innovation for the efforts of "Cheese grading..." , More then likely not of course, but still.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 1, 2011 7:46 AM
    Google is going to use these patents to construct a large bridge, it will then transfer it's corporate headquarters underneath it, then it will harangue passers-by.
  • 1 Hide
    gregor , August 1, 2011 11:35 AM
    ericburnbyFunny, it's always the people who are the LEAST innovative who complain about patent reform. Patents don't stifle innovation - it's the exact opposite. No company will ever spend huge $$$ on R&D if there's no way for them to protect the IP they gained from all that R&D.Do people forget where Google came from? They were a company founded on a SINGLE SOFTWARE PATENT. Without that patent they never would have gotten funding to start up their business. Now it's really funny that Google is calling for patent reform when they owe their existence to software patents.I guess when it serves them software patents are great, but when used against them software patents are evil. Google is the biggest hypocrite in the world when talking about patent reform.Anyone remember when the term 'Googling' in Silicon Valley was used to refer to a company that gets millions in funding with no business plan? That was the joke going around when Google received $25 million in funding based simply on an "idea" and a "software patent".

    And of course a company that exists just to use it's patents to sue others is fostering innovation?
  • 0 Hide
    Northwestern , August 4, 2011 8:44 AM
    DjEaZy... patents slows down innovation...

    Just about to say this.

    It's not about working together to achieve anything anymore.

    It's about selling shitty products to compete with the rival's other shitty products that results in a kindergarten fight in a courtroom of "HE SAID!/SHE SAID!".
Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter