Google continues to gobble up patents in the mobile arena, a defensive move to ward off assaults from Apple and Microsoft which are attacking the search giant’s Android platform. Bloomberg News reports that Google purchased an additional 1,023 patents from IBM last month, adding to the 1,030 patents it acquired from IBM in July.
The purchases — terms of which were not disclosed — follows Google’s decision to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. One of the reasons for the purchase was Motorola’s vast arsenal of wireless patents.
At an industry event in Seattle earlier this week, HTC’s acting North American president Martin Fichter discussed the patent issue in detail. The handset maker, with operations in the Seattle area, has been targeted in patent suits related to Android in recent months.
Despite the ongoing pains of the smarthphone patent wars, Fichter noted that it is a good thing that Google is making these purchases.
“It is good for the whole ecosystem that Google owns IP that they didn’t own before. That’s very good for the Android ecosystem because maybe everyone was going into this starry-eyed and happy (saying): ‘Ok, there’s a free operating system that we can all work with.’ And we all believed it. We all launched lots of phones, and all of a sudden it turns out that there are forces in the market who just don’t want something free for the consumer. So, OK, let’s go back and try to support that. From that perspective, it is a good thing that Google has access to these patents. I don’t know how Google and Motorola will work together in the future…. We will see how that pans out. For us, as I said before, we will look at our options, and we will look at whatever needs to be done to be successful. The good thing, for us at HTC, is that whatever has happened over the last few years, we’ve usually adjusted faster than the impact of whatever happened.”
Just last week, word spread that HTC is using nine patents from Google to defend a patent suit brought by Apple related to HTC’s use of Android.