Google recently bought more than a thousand technology patents from IBM for an undisclosed amount. According to Bill Slawski of the SEO by the Sea blog, Google acquired 1,029 patents from IBM, a list of which Slawski gathered from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Prior to the purchase of the IBM patents, Google reportedly had only about 700 patents in its portfolio.
The search company has not revealed the price it paid for the IBM patents.
Some speculate that the purchase of the IBM patents could have been motivated by recent legal attacks directed at Android. Although, a Google spokesperson said in a statement, “Like many tech companies, at times we’ll acquire patents that are relevant to our business.”
Google (along with Intel) recently lost the bid for 6,000 technology patents from Nortel. The Nortel portfolio included wireless communication (including LTE) and Internet technologies. Rockstar Bidco, a newly formed consortium of Android rivals led by Apple, Microsoft, and Research in Motion, won the bidding for US$4.5 billion. Apple reportedly staked US$2.6 billion for the Nortel patents.
CNET News reports that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is “intensifying” its investigation of the sale of the Nortel patents. The DOJ wants to know what the buyers plan to do with the patents and whether the buyers intend to use the Nortel patents to litigate against their competitors, particularly those using Google’s Android platform.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the DOJ could enforce rules and conditions on the sale.
Both Google and Apple are also reportedly eyeing about 1,300 mobile phone technology patents from InterDigital, according to a Bloomberg report. InterDigital’s cellular technology patents are said to be “deeper and stronger” than Nortel’s, according to InterDigital CEO William Merritt.
Although Google’s attitude towards patent acquisitions has been generally perceived as lackadaisical and reluctant, it seems that the search and advertising company that has been very vocal about reforming the law on patents has been arm-twisted into playing the patents game–and seems to be readying its lineup of patent experts, too.
Do you think Google should be more aggressive in the patents game and go on a patent-buying spree?
Image credit: Robert Scoble (Flickr)