Back in July and September of 2011, Google acquired 1,000 patents from IBM, bumping the total number of patents acquired from IBM to 2,000. But they weren’t done for the year. On December 30, Google made their final patent purchase of the year, buying 200 more IBM patents for a grand total of 2,200.
Representatives from Google wouldn’t comment on why the patents were acquired, but after examining what the patents cover it’s not hard to figure out. The latest round of patents added to Google’s portfolio cover a wide range of technology, including “email management, server backup, tuning and recovery, e-commerce, advertising, mobile Web page display, instant messaging, online calendaring and database tuning.” Clearly, Google is still working on improving their arsenal for legal battles and protecting their products.
Last year was the year of the patent troll, with lawsuits and licencing deals involving nearly every Android manufacturer on the planet taking place. There’s no reason to believe 2012 will be much different, but the hubbub surrounding legal problems is likely to be muted compared to the past. Regardless of how much attention Android-related lawsuits garner, Google is still in need of the weapons to protect their intellectual property.
With the acquisitions made from IBM and Motorola combined, Google is finally reaching a position where it will be able to defend itself when the time comes. Hopefully that won’t be necessary, but it’s nice to see Google taking the proper precautions.