Google buys more patents from IBM

The ongoing patent war between smartphone players is showing no signs of abating in 2012, as it has been revealed that Google acquired more patents from IBM at the end of last year, some of which are likely to be used to protect its Android handset ecosystem.

The web giant had already acquired 1,023 patents from IBM in September last year, covering Java and wireless technology, in order to combat lawsuits from rivals such as Apple and Microsoft. The purchase brought Google’s war chest to more than 20,000 patents.

And now, according to the USPTO patent assignment database, the firm has acquired a further  188 granted patents and 29 published pending patent applications from IBM.

The patents cover a broad range of topics, from presentation software, email administration, video conferencing and instant messaging applications to server load balancing, network performance, blade servers and data caching. Two of the most notable patents acquired by Google relate to mobile advertising and a patent describing a computer integrated into a cordless phone.

2011 saw a host of patent suits dominate headlines in the mobile device market, as Apple tried and failed to secure a ban on Samsung’s the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and a ban on Samsung’s touchscreen smartphones and tablets in the US. Samsung also tried and failed to block the iPhone 4S in France. However, in Germany, both Apple and Samsung could yet be successful in banning each other’s devices.

Most recently, Google suffered a double-blow as UK incumbent BT announced that it has taken legal action against it for alleged patent infringement, and the company’s takeover of Motorola Mobility – which it is purportedly acquiring to use the firm’s patents as ammunition in such disputes – hit a stumbling block as the European Commission (EC)  suspended its review of the merger late last year.

Tech patents: help or hindrance?

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