Google Buys Over A 1000 Patents To Fend Off Legal Attacks By Microsoft And Apple

September 16, 2011  |  

by Cynthia Wright

Google confirmed that it has added 1,023 more International Business Machines (IBM) patents to its technology coffers in order to fend off legal attacks from business rivals, Apple and Microsoft. The patents are used to counter the lawsuits that both companies have used to impede Android’s development and growth. While Google has remained hush on details, the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office’s website marks Google’s patent acquisition date as August 17th, with the list of patents viewable here.

The California-based Internet Company already holds approximately 1000 patents that they purchased in July, ranging from mobile software to computer hardware and processes.

Google’s recent patent acquisition stems from the need to fight for dominance in the smartphone marketplace, which is at the forefront when it comes to burgeoning technology and profit. With the smartphone market continually growing, companies have started lawsuits claiming that rival companies are infringing on their patented technology.

Taiwan-based HTC Corp (aided by Google) also ramped up its patent war with Apple. Being that, HTC Corp is the dominant force behind Android mobile software, they are often on Apple’s radar. To combat that, Google transferred nine patents to HTC to aid in the mending of intellectual property infringement complaints against the company.

Since Android is a free, open-source program that allows others to modify the code, causing features to be made that Google didn’t program, this often leaves the company open to frequent lawsuits. Which enables rival companies to believe that the success of Android was built on the backs of research done by their companies, with Apple and Microsoft being the most vocal.

The issues between HTC and Apple have been ongoing – the most recent activity occurring when HTC accused Apple of patent infringement in August. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court of Delaware, in which HTC claimed that Apple violated three HTC-held patents with its Macintosh computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads and various other products. HTC followed up that lawsuit by filing a complaint with the Washington-based US International Trade Commission.

Google will also obtain an additional 17,000 patents from Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc once the $12.5 billion acquisition goes through.

“Our acquisition of Motorola wil increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,” Google chief executive Larry Page said when the Motorola Mobility buy was announced.

In other words, Google isn’t trying to play.

Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.

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