Google Goes on an IBM Patent Spending Spree

Paul Lilly

Companies hoping to shield themselves from costly patent lawsuits have no choice but to play the patent game, which entails building up as big of a patent portfolio as possible. It's expensive, but still cheaper than going to court and risking high dollar verdicts. Some consider it a broken system, including Google, which has publicly called for patent reform. In the meantime, Google is forced to play the game, and according to reports, the search giant just purchased over 1,000 patents from IBM.

"Like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business," a Google spokesman said in a statement, according to The Wall Street Journal .

Google's newly acquired patents cover the "fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips," various computer architecture such as servers and routers, online search engines, and more.

Facing numerous patent lawsuits for its services, including Android, Google has the money -- some $40 billion in cash, WSJ says -- to go out and acquire patents, however it's not always as simple as making a buy. Earlier this month, Google bid on a portfolio of 6,000 patents owned by Nortel Networks Corp, but it's initial $900 million bid fell way short of the collective $4.5 billion Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM, and Sony paid.

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