Google bolsters patent stockpile with IBM buy

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google's boosted its growing patent portfolio by buying hundreds more from IBM, which it hopes will help it in its battle to fight off litigation.

It's taken over 187 patents and 36 patent applications, on top of the many others it bought from IBM last summer.

The patents, first spotted by blog SEO by the Sea, cover aspects of email management, e-commerce, network performance and blade servers.

There are also several smartphone-related technologies such as the transfer of web applications between devices - and voice based keyword searching, which could enable Google in efforts to compete with Apple's Siri personal digital assistant.

Another interesting patent forming part of the set is US Patent 7,865,592. Titled 'Using semantic networks to develop a social network', it covers ways of establishing common interests of different users of a social network, by analyzing the coontent of posts to find topics in common - something we could expect to see in Google+, for instance?

Google came a little late to the patent frenzy, and has been acquiring them in huge numbers to make up for it. As well as the IIBM patents, it's also in the process of taking over Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, netting it 17,000-odd patents on the way.

The company's struggling to fight off litigation from several companies, including Oracle, which is suiing it over various Java-related patents in a case due to come to court this year.

The IBM patents could give Google a negotiating tactic if it can find any that Oracle can plausibly be claimed to have violated, encouraging Oracle to settle for a cross-licensing agreement.

IBM won't miss the patents - it has plenty more. In 2010, the company became the first ever to be granted more than 5,000 in a single year.