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Google IBM Patents Your Rights Online

Google Buys IBM Patents 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the something-borrowed-something-blue dept.
pbahra writes "Google said Friday that it has purchased technology patents from IBM as the Web-search giant stocks up on intellectual property to defend itself against lawsuits. 'Like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business,' a Google spokesman said in a statement. The purchase was reported earlier by the blog SEO by the Sea, which said Google in mid-July recorded the acquisition of more than 1,000 patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patents involve the 'fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips,' computer architecture including servers and routers and online search engines, among other things. The Google spokesman declined to comment on the purchase price. It wasn't immediately clear which of the patents might be useful to Google to shield against lawsuits."
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Google Buys IBM Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    on a crusade about the common enemy: Oracle

  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Friday July 29, 2011 @09:01AM (#36920792)

    Since some of the patents involve fabrication.... does google plan on building their own chips and not fully rely on other chip manufacturers for their hardware?

    • by JamesP (688957)

      I think this is meant against Apple OR maybe Sun/Oracle.

      3rd option would be against XBOX

      • Or against anyone who builds devices with "memory and microprocessing chips". Not a lot of those things around though.

    • by JoeBuck (7947)
      Possibly they think that Apple (who's making lots of chips these days) may be infringing those patents, so it would be something to countersue with if Apple attacks Android.
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        Google has never countersued anyone regarding patents, and has made it clear they will not do so.

        This will never happen, not from apple or google.

        • Then why did they just spend so much money (potentially billions of dollars) purchasing these patents?
          • by trum4n (982031)
            To use them..... Not everybody is a ****ing troll.
            • by Thantik (1207112)

              Countersuing IS using them. Countersuing is a defensive move and has nothing to do with patent trolling, troll.

              • by trum4n (982031)
                I ment production. Like actually making something that benefits our lives and country. I'm sure the economy would be better if somebody tried this technique of making money.
              • by poetmatt (793785)

                And? Your focus has nothing to do with what we're talking about. You're arguing a hypothetical (countersuing) based on a second hypothetical (that google will even countersue) . This is so asinine it hurts me to read such a backwards statement. Then you flip it again, saying that countersuing is defensive, and guess what? It could or couldn't be, depending on how it's done.

                If I sue you for a misdemeanor but you countersue pushing for a felony is that exactly defensive? No.

      • by node 3 (115640)

        Possibly they think that Apple (who's making lots of chips these days) may be infringing those patents, so it would be something to countersue with if Apple attacks Android.

        Just to clarify some context here, because of how Slashdot feels towards software patents, patent trolls, Google, and Apple:

        - Apple has only ever initiated suits against companies infringing on patents that Apple actually invented and uses. They aren't patent trolls.
        - Earlier this month, Google criticized Apple for buying the Nortel patents, saying they would litigate instead of innovate. Ignored in this is the fact that Google also bid on the patents, and now Google has purchased some other patents.

        I don't

    • by trum4n (982031)
      Maybe someone will build a GOOD android phone, when its designed by the people with the vision in their heads. I feel like every android phone has a massive flaw, maybe google can fix that.
    • by Jonner (189691)

      Google is saying the purpose of obtaining patents such as these is so they have more defense against patent attacks. I think that's probably true at the moment. What I wonder is how long it will take Google to amass enough of an arsenal to decide they can be a patent bully like Apple, Oracle, Microsoft and many others. In any case, these patents are nothing more than corporate weapons and doing nothing to promote innovation.

    • Big rumors on a few websites that TI is selling off their OMAP division... Perhaps Google is looking at that?

  • Google vs Oracle (Score:4, Interesting)

    by auLucifer (1371577) on Friday July 29, 2011 @09:03AM (#36920818)
    Oracle/Sun hardware? Say hello to Google!
    • Oracle/Sun hardware? Say hello to Google!

      I think Oracle would sooner can SPARC than not get a distributed database patents cross-licensing deal with Google. Java is just a club to beat Google over the head with.

      Thwack.

    • It might be that Google sues SUN for violating one or more of their hardware patents. That is a tit-for-tat approach to Oracle who is sueing Google for Java extensions.
  • Companies are against software patents when they start up, because they use innovation instead.

    When they run out of steam to innovate, they begin to consolidate.

    Is this Google running out of steam and buying into the big company software patent detente?

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I can't answer that specifically,; however companies do nede to protect themselves and that seems to be the case ehre.
      Of course when they are larger they by patents, because that is when they ahve the money to do it.

      By your logic, IBM would have stopped innovating 30 years ago.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        By your logic, IBM would have stopped innovating 30 years ago.

        Inconceivable!

      • by Jonner (189691)

        I can't answer that specifically,; however companies do nede to protect themselves and that seems to be the case ehre.
        Of course when they are larger they by patents, because that is when they ahve the money to do it.

        By your logic, IBM would have stopped innovating 30 years ago.

        Yeah, IBM is certainly innovating at a similar rate to Google.

        • In the retail market and from a net revenue perspective, you've got a point, but I do want to point out that it's Google buying a *thousand* patents from IBM and not the other way around..

    • It sounds like most of the patents Google bought are Hardware Patents - IE Physical products instead of Imaginary Products such as Software Algorthyms

      • by Jonner (189691)

        It sounds like most of the patents Google bought are Hardware Patents - IE Physical products instead of Imaginary Products such as Software Algorthyms

        Do you have a count? I didn't see any enumeration of the patents in the transaction. Unfortunately, that will probably never be public knowledge.

    • by s4ndm4n (1361751)
      I don't think so at all. I think this is Google playing it smart and getting in position to make some big moves, although I can't in any way speculate on what, I'm no tech expert. But that being said, based on their latest stuff, they haven't stopped running out of ides.
      • by Jonner (189691)

        I don't think so at all. I think this is Google playing it smart and getting in position to make some big moves, although I can't in any way speculate on what, I'm no tech expert. But that being said, based on their latest stuff, they haven't stopped running out of ides.

        You don't have to run out of ideas to become a patent troll. Microsoft has a research division which seems to come up with all kinds of interesting stuff, most of which never sees the light of day. Though they invent far less than they claim, Apple certainly has some good new ideas of their own. Patent trolling is simply more profitable than innovating in many cases. As Google isn't run by idiots and has a responsibility to provide the most value for their shareholders, they will eventually find themselves

        • by s4ndm4n (1361751)
          Sounds like a good argument form my un-trained perspective. I'm cautious of all the big companies as they grow more powerful, regarding what they'll do with things such as patents. I'm certainly less wary of Google than the others though...
    • by oGMo (379) on Friday July 29, 2011 @09:39AM (#36921260)

      When they run out of steam to innovate, they begin to consolidate.

      I think the real sign they run out of innovation is they begin to sue people or businesses for "using their ideas" rather than moving on to new ones. Call be back when Google starts doing this.

      • by samkass (174571)

        The obvious counter-example to this is Apple. They are suing Samsung for making near-exact replicas of many Apple inventions without the expenditure of any R&D or in fact bringing anything new into the world... yet they still subsequently created the iPad that's become a new multi-billion dollar industry in less than 2 years. Obviously they are still rapidly innovating. It's not an either-or thing.

        • by oGMo (379)

          Contrarily, I think Apple is a perfect example. They were innovating at least as much as Google. (If you call "making slightly better webapps than everyone else for ad revenue" innovative, then "making shiny mp3 players, smart phones, and tablets with mass appeal" can be innovative, too. Let's not belabor the definition.)

          However, lately it seems, possibly due to a shortage of Steve, things may be going less well. Iteratively new stuff, but nothing really new, and there seems to be a "dumbing down" trend

          • by node 3 (115640)

            Are you serious? Have you seen the new products from the past year? iPhone 4, iOS 5, Lion, the new MacBook Airs from October, the upcoming iPhone 5, iPad 2, iCloud...

            (hint: innovation does not mean coming out with completely new products every year.)

            Apple is on an innovation streak. And they've *always* held the position that they have their own look, feel, and inventions, and that they think others should come up with their own.

            Is Apple really suing over lost sales or brand dilution because of "near-exact replicas"? Or do they just not have anything else to fall back on? Do they have a next idea to move on to? These should be last years, out-of-style designs, if they're really innovating.

            There are certain design features that are iconic to Apple. The Apple's current

    • I disagree so far Google hasn't been placing lawsuits at all, every time they come up with an idea they wind up infringing on 5+ patents because that is the way patents currently work. Innovation is irrelevant, some patent somewhere is broad enough to encompass your idea, whether or not anyone has done or even thought about doing what you have done before or not. The only protection from that is to stand back and say "oh yeah well I already have a patent for it as well". Correct me if I'm wrong but can you
    • by poetmatt (793785)

      are non sequiturs stupid? this next, demonstrated by David Gerard.

      Google doesn't sue with patents or consolidate. Could any company run out of steam? yes. Doesn't say much for google that has anything to do with a: these patents and article or b: what google is doing in general.

  • by burleywinz (1247404) on Friday July 29, 2011 @09:17AM (#36920964)
    I learned this about a month ago and was a little stunned by it. http://www.zoliblog.com/2006/07/02/google-is-the-worlds-fourth-largest-server-manufacturer/ [zoliblog.com]
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Interesting. But are they the fourth-largest seller of servers? Unlike Dell, HP, and IBM, they actually use absolutely massive amounts of servers, and they realized quite some time ago that making them themselves was cheaper than buying them from others. Can you even buy a Google server box? Data storage, certainly, but not the physical hardware.

      And now with Google funding fiber projects, we might see a point in the future when you are requesting data from Google on Google-built servers over Google fiber. M

    • by Bengie (1121981)

      I saw a box , that was shaped like a blade server, get delivered to my work a few weeks back and it had a Google logo printed on the box. Not a sticker, actually printed on the box.

      I couldn't find anyone in my area that knew what it was.

  • At least Google is dutifully purchasing the rights to some things for now, instead of contesting or blatantly ignoring them and fighting lawsuit upon lawsuit ("Dalvik isn't Java! We swear!"). Time will tell if this does not lead to more possible "evil" in Google or not.
  • The patents cover "fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips."

    Hmm.

    Google isn't in those businesses, but these patents sound like they are likely to be violated by ... say ... Oracle?

    Mutual Assured Destruction would make that pesky lawsuit go away quickly.
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      That's only one possible use.

      Google already has manufacturers build hardware to their specifications (e.g., servers).

      From there it's not that big a step towards designing custom-made chips for their own needs (e.g., hardware-based WebM encoding for YouTube) and hand off the actual manufacturing to partners in a joint venture.

  • by brain1 (699194)

    Look out Oracle. You wanted to pick a fight with an 800 lb gorilla, didn't you. You had to think with your wallet and not with your brain. Well, with this kind of ammunition I think Google is poised to really mess up your day.

  • If Google buys patents off IBM, does this mean IBM loses those patents?
    Or do they now both share it?
    I don't see why IBM would otherwise sell patents that Google obviously has interest in. Wouldn't it make more sense to license the use of it? That would also give Google the same protection they need.

  • This is bad, right? Aren't we against companies buying up patents from other companies because they had no hand in the patent filing or "innovation"? Or is this now okay because it's Google?

    • This is bad, right? Aren't we against companies buying up patents from other companies because they had no hand in the patent filing or "innovation"? Or is this now okay because it's Google?

      It's ok if they're doing it defensively, to protect themselves against lawsuits. Murder is bad, defending yourself against murder is good.

  • driod is a propriatary product built on top of Linux. This is not a GPL violation because the GPL allows this. Never the less, it has all the well known disadvantages of propriatary Software to wit:
    • The vendor keeps the source secret making bugs difficult to fix.
    • The vendor encourages dependancy
    • Vendor lockin
    • end user manipulation.
    • additional cost
    • discourages tinkering.
    • one size fits all approach.
    • loss of freedom

    All this happens because propriatary software is evil! In order to avoid these evils we need

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