Google Builds Up Its Patent Litigation Defenses With IBM Deal


Continuing to build up its patent portfolio as a defense against lawsuits, Google has acquired some 200 patents from IBM covering a range of technology areas from video conferencing, to Javascript widgets, to e-mail administration.

Last year Google acquired more than 2,000 patents from IBM in several similar transactions.

Google's Android mobile operating system has been the target of patent violation lawsuits from Oracle, Apple and Microsoft. Oracle, for example, has sued Google claiming Android violates a number of Java patents held by Oracle. And Microsoft and Apple have taken legal action against handset manufacturers that use Android in their smartphones, charging them with patent infringement.

Earlier this year David Drummond, Google vice president and chief legal officer, argued in a blog that competitors, including Microsoft and Apple, had banded together in "a hostile, organized campaign against Android" that's being "waged through bogus patents."

Last year a consortium of companies, including Apple, Microsoft, EMC and Oracle, acquired patents owned by Novell for $450 million. Another consortium led by Apple likewise bought patents from Nortel for $4.5 billion.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office web site, the latest patents "assigned" to Google by IBM cover such technologies as "Customizing and distributing advertisements to mobile devices on a communication network," "Method and apparatus for dynamically modifying Web page display for mobile devices," and "Transfer of Web applications between devices."

A Google spokesman confirmed the patent transaction with IBM, but otherwise declined comment on the company's plans for the patents or how much the company paid IBM for the patent rights.