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IBM helps Google get locked and loaded in patent wars

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IBM helps Google get locked and loaded in patent wars
The headlines are unavoidable – in the world of mobile devices, everyone is suing everyone else. Lawsuits lead to counter lawsuits, companies band together to pool their patents. But most of it has stemmed from one simple fact: Google is younger and has far fewer patents than competitors like Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Google has spent the last half of the year loading up to hunt bear, so to speak. While the buyout of Motorola (and its patent portfolio) made headlines, IBM has also been quietly helping Google close the patent gap. Just last week Google acquired 188 patents and 29 pending patent applications from Big Blue. Clearly someone didn’t take the entire holiday season off.

The newly acquired patents cover a wide range of topics, including data caching and load balancing, video conferencing, and IM applications. Not surprisingly, several are directly related to internet, phone, and mobile technologies. This is the fourth transfer of patents from IBM to Google in 2011, with the total number of patents topping 2,200. Since Google isn't purchasing an entire portfolio, it's entirely possible that the 2,200 patents it got from IBM are of greater legal value than larger portfolio purchases - Motorola may add 17,000+ patents to Google's arsenal, but not all of them are in areas relevant to Google's legal defense.

IBM undoubtedly is helping its own bottom line with these deals, yet it’s interesting that they chose to aid Google, a company that found itself at a serious disadvantage when the mobile sector took an “all lawyers on deck” approach to competition. It’s unlikely that IBM has a specific reason to target one side or the other in the mobile patent wars; more likely, as a solutions provider IBM would benefit from a ceasefire in the war.

Google promised earlier this year that they would aggressively defend Android in the patent wars, and it appears that they continue to invest heavily in that defense.

Tech IP junkies can click on the source to see the titles of several of the patents being transferred.

source: SEO by the sea via Engadget

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