Photo: Eric Platt/Business Insider
Google took another step forward in the patents arms race purchasing 1,203 patents from IBM as it builds an arsenal to protect itself and its partners in the growing smartphone lawsuit war.
This latest patent grab comes on top of Google’s acquisition of 1,030 patents from IBM in July and the mother lode of 17,500 patents and 7,500 pending applications it will acquire through its proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
Google is building an arsenal of patents designed to arm its OEM partners (Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola) so they can more effectively counter what it calls a “hostile, organised campaign” by companies including Apple and Microsoft against the Android operating system for mobile devices.
A senior executive at one handset partner said “Google is doing this to arm the OEMs so they can more effectively battle Apple rather than Google having to do it directly on their own.” For its part, Apple looks like it wants to take on Google head on and yesterday filed litigation that if successful would force Google to be named in a lawsuit rather than just Motorola.
The crux of the escalating patent war is that Android is a free, open-source program that relies on some nonproprietary features Google didn’t create and allows outside developers to modify the code. Because of this, Google and handset makers that use the system have been vulnerable to lawsuits claiming Android was built using research done by other technology companies thus infringing upon their patents.
Android handset makers HTC, Samsung Electronics Co. and Motorola Mobility have each been targeted in lawsuits by Apple, and Microsoft and Motorola Mobility have exchanged patent-infringement allegations.
According to a report in Bloomberg, Google last month transferred to HTC nine patents it bought in the past year from companies including the former Motorola Inc. and Openwave Systems Inc. Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC used those patents last week in a new lawsuit that escalates its patent battle with Apple.
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