특허 188건, 출원 29건. 지난 연말 12월 30일자로..
IT공룡들의 군비 경쟁 즉 특허 확보 경쟁은 올해도 여전히 현재진행형.
특허는 스마트폰 비즈니스의 수입과 리더십 확보 전쟁의 핵심 수단이지만, 구글은 그들의 특허 포트폴리오가 너무 얄팍하여 지적재산권 소송에 취약하다는 점을 절감하고 있다.
그래서 지난 6개월간 매우 공격적으로 특허를 인수해왔다. IBM 등으로부터..
이 번에 인수한 특허는 몇 건 되지 않지만, 데이터베이스 특허가 많이 포함되어 있다.
예를 들어 patent 6442548, titled "database interface for database unaware products," and patent 7831632, titled "method and system for reconstruction of object model data in a relational database."
이들 데이터베이스 특허는 현재 계속 중인 오라클과의 소송에 쓸 모가 많을 것이다. 오라클은 특히 데이터베이스에 막강한 기업으로서 지난 2010년 10월에 자바 관련 특허와 저작권을 침해하였다는 이유로 구글을 제소하였었다.
금번에 인수한 특허들이 현재 소송을 해결하는 데 도움이 될만한 구글의 반격 무기가 될 것이다.
IBM의 입장에서도 특허의 가치가 하늘을 찌르고 있을 때 팔게 되어 현금확보에 호기를 잡았다고 할 수 있다.
A latecomer to the patent acquisition game, Google continues to accumulate intellectual property rights, picking up more than 200 patents and patents pending from IBM.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Web site, Google acquired 188 patents and another 29 patents pending from IBM in a deal recorded December 30. Terms weren't disclosed and both companies declined to comment on the transaction, other than to acknowledge that it happened. The deal was first reported by the Web site SEO by the Sea.
Patents have been a key tool in the battle for smartphone revenue and leadership. But Google, which only entered the mobile phone business in 2007, has found itself vulnerable to intellectual property litigation because of its thin patent portfolio.
That's because Google has instead been largely unable to invoke the common defense for a company accused of infringement: the threat of a countersuit, alleging that its accuser has violated one of its patents. That often leads to cross-licensing deals that keep the companies out of court.
Without its modest patent portfolio, Google has been a target. In the last six months, it's aggressively acquired patents from IBM and others. And Google Chief Executive Larry Page cited the company's desire to build its patent trove as a reason for acquiring Motorola Mobility, in a deal that's still pending.
The newest batch of patents from IBM have only a handful of mobile telephony applications. Instead, they are rich in database intellectual property, including patent 6442548, titled "database interface for database unaware products," and patent 7831632, titled "method and system for reconstruction of object model data in a relational database."
That could be useful in Google's ongoing litigation with Oracle. The database giant sued Google in August 2010 for infringing on copyrights and patents related to Java, which Oracle acquired along with Sun Microsystems earlier that year. The companies have been publicly sparring in a case that's expected to go to trial this year. The database patents could give Google ammunition to prod Oracle toward settling the case, rather than facing a suit over alleged infringement of the IBM-developed intellectual property.
To be sure, there are plenty of other patents in the latest batch acquired from IBM that Google may develop, as well. Some cover language translation and search, areas where Google already has significant intellectual property.
As for IBM, the deal is likely an opportunity to cash in when the value of patents is skyrocketing. Google presents a willing and deep-pocketed buyer to IBM for its massive collection of intellectual property.