Qualcomm buys Palm, IPAQ, and Bitfone patent portfolio from HP

January 24, 2014
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Qualcomm and HP announced a deal involving the sale of thousands of patents from HP’s Palm, IPAQ, and Bitfone portfolio to the mobile chipmaker.

The transaction will see Qualcomm acquiring 1,400 patents and patent applications filed in the United States, as well as 1,000 patents and applications from other countries. It’s not clear how many of these patents overlap, but, in any case, Qualcomm just extended its already formidable arsenal with intellectual property that it calls “fundamental” to mobile operating system technology.

Qualcomm and HP did not disclose the financial details of the deal.

HP acquired Palm in 2010 for $1.2 billion, and shuttered it just two years later, after a disastrous attempt to launch a new line of webOS-powered devices, including the Palm Pre smartphone and the TouchPad tablet. HP later sold WebOS to LG, who is now using it as a smart TV operating system.

Bitfone was a company specializing in mobile device management for corporate clients. HP acquired it in 2006. IPAQ was a line of PDAs originally developed by Compaq, that HP took over following the acquisition of the company in 2002.

Given the important role that Palm and Compaq had in the development of PDAs and early smartphones, the deal likely means a nice upgrade to Qualcomm’s IP trove. As part of the deal, HP will probably retain a license for these patents.

Under the leadership of CEO Meg Whitman, HP has adopted Android for its mobile devices, which include a line of tablets and the newly launched phablets Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab.

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