The patents, granted in a deal recorded on Friday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, cover databases, mobile phones, server infrastructure and technologies that could play a role in self-driving cars. The move, which was first reported by SEO by the Sea, adds to the 2,053 patents turned over by IBM to Google in the past 12 months.
The patent acquisitions come at a time when Google is striving to protect some of its product categories, such as Android, from infringement claims by rivals such as Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. In August, it accused these companies of conspiring to attack its mobile device operating system, saying they were waging a “hostile, organized campaign” using “bogus patents”.
Over the past year, Google has acquired thousands of patents, in addition to its haul from IBM. It received 17,000 patents and 7,000 patents pending in its August purchase of phone specialist Motorola Mobility, but was unsuccessful in its £553m bid for 6,000 telecommunications-related patents from Nortel.
The new IBM intellectual property covers areas that seem pertinent to Android, such as patents relating to wireless telephone systems, near-field communication (NFC) and availability policies on virtual machines.
Google is embroiled in a legal dispute with Oracle over whether some of the technologies inside Android relating to Java infringe on the database specialist’s intellectual property. The suit, launched by Oracle in August 2010, is expected to go to trial this year.
Some of the IBM patents deal with how back-end databases communicate with one another and with “database-unaware products”. They also relate to some of the company’s core areas, such as search infrastructure, with patents for adjusting configuration parameters of a server when a different server fails; and new areas like self-driving cars, via patents such as one describing the “method and apparatus for predicting future travel times over a transport network”.
Neither Google nor IBM has revealed the terms of the patent transfer, and IBM declined to comment on the deal.