The patent war heats up!

IBM gives more than 200 patents to Google, bolstering their defences?

Chris Mayer
Android-Oracle

Google looks to be bulking up their portfolio ahead of more legal wrangling with Oracle in the coming year.

It could be conceived as a late Christmas present for Google, as
IBM assigned 217 more patent filings in total to the company just
before the year was out.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) patent assignment database, Google had acquired

188 granted patents and 29 patents pending
from IBM in a deal
recorded on December 30.

As first reported on
SEO by the Sea
, details beyond the patents in question, such as
the terms of this agreement, are at the moment unknown. Both
declined to comment on the deal too, but acknowledge that it took
place.

These exchanges between Google and IBM were fairly commonplace
throughout last year (over 1,000 between July and September) but
recently it’s fair to say that Google have been much more
aggressive in acquiring intellectual property.

The patents of course could be incredibly beneficial in
developing new products for Google but what seems more likely is
Google realising the need to bolster their portfolio for impending
litigation cases – none more important than the ensuing Oracle case
over the possible copyright infringement of Java with their Android
platform.

The latest trove of patents covers a broad range of topics –
with only a few devoted to web and telephone and mobile
applications. Several database-related patents could spark Oracle’s
interest such as the patents
5937406
6442548
and 7831632.
Another that could affect Oracle products
is 7,100,154 which makes specific references
to the JIT compiler within its description.

Critics have speculated that the acquisition of these patents
could prove key for the Android defence, gifting them ammunition
that could nudge Oracle towards settling the case this year.

The ramificiations for Java could prove huge though. IBM
is clearly the kingmaker here, recognising the skyrocketing value
of these patents but what does this patent trading do for its
position on the JCP Executive
Committee
. It surely can’t sit easily. 

Either way, expect the patent negotiating to heighten in
the coming months as we may come closer to progress in the
Google/Oracle trial.

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