Google Arms Android with 1,023 More IBM Patents But Will It Protect Them From Apple?

Google Arms Android with 1,023 More IBM Patents But Will It Protect Them From Apple?

In the current wave of patent wars, Google has become an arms supplier, buying technology from other firms to increase Android’s ability to fight back against Apple. In its latest purchase in the Silicon Valley’s version of an arms bazaar, the Internet giant snapped up 1,023 IBM patents.

After purchasing 1,030 IBM patents in July, the Mountain View, Calif. Android creator in August bought the new technology to combat what Google terms a “hostile, organized campaign” by Apple and others to slow growth of the mobile operating system. HTC, which lost a patent battle against Apple, is the latest beneficiary of Google’s warchest, last month getting nine patents to help its fight against the tech giant, according to Bloomberg.

Although Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility bolsters the Android ecosystem by providing a smartphone maker, the deal is seen as more valuable for the 17,000 patents included. Although billed as an “open-source” software, Android uses closed technology. Toss in the ability of Android partners to edit the code and you have the makings of a serious legal challenge.

Apple has been leading that legal charge, first winning against HTC, then suing Samsung and also filing patent-infringement claims against Motorola Mobility. Observers believe the Cupertino, Calif. iPhone maker could stifle Android by requiring handset makers pay exorbitant licensing fees.

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  • steffen_jobs

    it’s looking more and more like this tech revolution will be litigated by armies of lawyers.  i bet apple has more attorneys than engineers.

  • marcwitteveen

    Certain patents are just wrong, e.g. a gesture patent to browse trough photos. Also software patents are in most cases harmful for free development, e.g. if I want to create an application that allows buying items from within the application I need to pay a license fee. How can a beginner developer afford these license fees?! Patents block innovation and the technical evolution.

  • Drudge

    This article is dated and lacks substance! Besides, it’s largely believed Google didn’t purchase Motorola for its patent portfolio – after all, it didn’t stop Apple and Microsoft from suing Motorola re: Android.

  • Hari Seldon

    “Observers believe the Cupertino, Calif. iPhone maker could stifle Android by requiring handset makers pay exorbitant licensing fees.”

    On the contrary, most Informed observers believe that Apple has no intention of going after licensing fees, they will require that these companies go back to the drawing board and make products that don’t infringe their IP.

  • macgizmo

    I don’t know what sites you read, but every major media outlet, tech journalist, and geek blogger on the web believes they bought MM for the patents. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a single source claim otherwise.

  • techgeek01

    What winnings?

    Well I guess they are “winning” but its more “winning” nothing.

    HTC?  It’s not going to affect HTC at all.  They already are making changes.
    Samsung? Again, dosen’t even effect samsung at all. Matter of fact, in the same “win” the court found several Apple IP or IP patents or patents (don’t remember the exact term) to be invalid.

    So, how in the world is Apple going to force Android to pay fees, when they won (quite literally) nothing?

  • jdog25

    Eric Schmidt said that they bought it for the patents and to try the Apple/RIM model by building their own hardware and software. I can’t find the hour long interview where he said that but he did because I watched the whole thing.

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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