Google’s announcement that it will buy mobile phone manufacturer Motorola Mobility will turbocharge the proliferation of the Android OS. But the $12.5 billion deal may be more about IP. Unlike Apple, IBM – and Motorola, Google does not own a lot of patents. But the acquisition includes a 17,000+ technology patent portfolio that Google will be able to use both defensively and offensively.
American Public Media’s technology reporter Steve Henn:
“If you steal someone else’s idea, you can get taken to court and you’re supposed to pay for it. But lots of software developers believe the U.S. patent system — especially when it comes to software — is just broken. It’s a total mess. There are literally thousands of patents issued for the same ideas. You know, for example, just in the last few years, Amazon was awarded a patent for creating social networks…..
….So Google, Apple, Microsoft have all gone out shopping, buying up thousands and thousands of patents. Most analysts believe it’s largely for the purpose of suing each other”
High tech players regularly game the patent system. So Google will now have substantial leverage (and probably some trump cards) if and when sued by another player for patent infringement. You can read, or listen to, the story “Why Google wants to buy Motorola Mobility.” And make sure to read the comments!
Relevant to this discussion, I added a comment, by way of a “P.S.”, to my recent post on patent trolls. My concern was that non-operating entities (NPEs) would start to acquire agricultural patents and expose development projects to this kind of “gaming the system”. I subsequently visited the web site of a leading NPE, ‘Intellectual Ventures’ and discovered that they already have a portfolio of agricultural IP (emphasis added):
“Invention Portfolio: Broad Technology Market Coverage: Agriculture, automotive, communications….”
Post written by Peter Bloch