Aug 15, 2011Science and Technology
Finding Solace in ‘Mobility’: Google ‘googles’ for patent portfolios

Google buys Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and its patent portfolio for USD 12.5 billion. And this is understood to be the search giant’s biggest business deal.In terms of numbers, Google acquires roughly 17000 patents, about 75% pending patent applications. Now what drives Google to hush up the process of acquiring these?  

Is it a result of months of planning, strategizing and hours of devoted thought process put in by the crème de la crème of technology around the world?

Or did Google just buy an insurance policy for itself from the impending patent infringement claims from Apple and the likes?

Or it a move aimed to ward off the danger ia anticipates as a result of losing the Nortel Patent auction to Microsoft, Apples & the group in Early July this year?

Google was certainly under a lot of pressure after the Nortel patent auction in July. So much so that a couple of weeks back Google found itself accusing the other Telecom majors of teaming against it. This and the flurry of patent litigations around the world led Google to pay too hefty a sum for the bunch of patents that it acquires as a part of the Mobility Holdings deal. 

Google made all attempts to ensure that there wasn’t another auction which it would have to face with its other competitors, and so offered an exorbitant sum with which it clearly avoided an auction scene like the Nortel one. This plainly speaks how much Google is trying to bolster its patent portfolio to have a respectable stand to show off to the Microsoft-Apple alliance. And then, ofcourse there are the-very-much-in-vogue-Patent Trolls, who are giving nightmares to everyone without exceptions. 

Google’s is trying hard also to provide a smooth sailing for its Android technology, which has also become eye sore for many. The Motorola Mobility deal is also intended to provide a strong backing for Android. Brian Pitz, an analyst at UBS said that they don't think Google necessarily wants to be in the handset business. They want those patents first and foremost since this is really a game of protection.

Motorola Mobility got its share of fame after the adoption, but the stock market hasn’t been particularly supportive of Google in the deal. Where the stocks of Motorola Mobility saw a steep rise by almost 55%, Google’s shares fell by roughly 1%. 

The reason may well be that Google followers are not too pleased with the deal that appears to mark a shift in strategy from Google's traditional Internet search and advertising business. Neither would other rivals take it easy. For example, L.G. and Samsung now may not freely promote Android because of Google venturing into the handset industry and becoming a direct competitor.

This patent scenario has turned into a marshy eco-system. The one who steps in even accidentally gets badly caught and then there is no turning back. And it is yet to grow. Stay tuned for more!

Gena PatentAlthough its entry into the patent-war big leagues didn't start out very smoothly, perhaps Google is better off now with the IBM and Motorola portfolios than with the Nortel patents. It will certainly have more patents at its disposal now than if it had bid higher than Pi at the Nortel auction.
Aug 23, 2011