Google buys 1,030 IBM patents to strengthen IP catalog

Google has confirmed it snapped up a bundle of IBM patents, in a move that is believed to be defensive against the growing number of IP-based lawsuits. The 1,030 patents acquired cover a broad range of technologies, SEO by the Sea reports, including memory and microprocessor chip fabrication/architecture, server and router design, and software programming such as relational databases, object oriented programming and more.

"Like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business" a Google spokesperson told the WSJ, though declined to reveal the financial details of the deal with IBM.

The decision is in contrast to comments by Google CEO Larry Page earlier this month, in which the chief exec denied that the Android patent situation was serious, and argued that rather than acquiring IP, the company would focus on developing its own technologies. "We're really committed to Android" Page suggested, "[but] we will support it in a cost-effective manner."

What falls under the banner of "cost-effective" is unclear, though it seems likely that Page was referring to the huge $4.5bn a consortium including Microsoft and Apple collectively paid recently for a cache of Nortel patents, keeping ownership away from Google. Chairman Eric Schmidt, meanwhile, dismissed lawsuits by rivals as evidence of jealousy and a shortfall in innovation.

Next in the Google sights is believed to be InterDigital, an R&D firm that develops, patents and licenses wireless technologies. The company filed a patent infringement suit against Nokia, ZTE and Huawei earlier this week.