Google Acquires Significant 3G Patents

Google acquired a number of patents from a company that’s presently suing a number of major developers of wireless hardware devices for patent infringement. The company is Gold Bridge Technology (GBT), and they tell us on their “Meeting the Challenge” page:

One of GBT’s most significant group of patents pertains to the UMTS W-CDMA Standard. All equipment manufacturers and service providers providing 3rd Generation (“3G”) wireless service adhere to the technical specifications set by this standard. GBT has a number of patents that are essential to this standard and offers for license its portfolio of UMTS patents.

An image from the USPTO database showing the assignment of patents from GBT to Google.

GBT has at least two pending lawsuits in Federal District Court in the District of Delaware based upon a couple of wireless patents 6,574,267 and 7,359,427. Those patents both have the title,”Rach ramp-up acknowledgement.” The GBT Meeting page also tells us that their Random Access Channel technology (“RACH”) Ramp up and Acknowledgment is the most widely used of their technology.

Those Rach patents weren’t included in the list of patents assigned to Google.

An “Our Technology” page on the GBT website, points at a different family of patents as their “most significant” intellectual property:

Common Packet Channel
GBT’s most significant Protocol IP is a group of patents relating to the Common Packet Channel (“CPCH”) Radio Access Protocol IP. CPCH is now the only packet access protocol of the 3G W-CDMA standard that is optimized for medium sized packet length, which is the most common length for email and web browsing transactions. GBT is the pioneer of CPCH and has worked with 3G standard bodies in the United States and around the world to incorporate this once-unfeasible packet data communication feature into 3G systems.

The cases are pending in Delaware District Court, and both were each scheduled for mediation hearings in January a few days ago. There were a few counter claims filed as well.

Golden Bridge Technology Inc. v. Amazon.Com Inc. et al
CASE #: 1:11-cv-00165-SLR
Date Filed: 02/24/2011

The original defendants named in the case include Acer America Corporation, Acer Inc., Amazon.Com Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc., BarnesandNoble.com Inc., BarnesandNoble.com LLC, Dell Inc., Deutsche Telekom AG, Exedea Inc., Garmin International Inc., Garmin Ltd., Garmin USA Inc., HTC (BVI) Corp., HTC America Inc., HTC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Company, Huawei Device USA Inc., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Huawei Technologies USA, LG Electronics Inc., LG Electronics Mobilecomm USA Inc., LG Electronics USA Inc., Lenovo (United States) Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd., Lenovo Holding Company Inc., Novatel Wireless Inc., Novatel Wireless Solutions Inc., Novatel Wireless Technology Inc., Option NV, Option Wireless USA Inc., Palm Inc., Panasonic Corporation, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Panasonic Electronic Devices Corporation of North America, Panasonic Kabushiki Kaisha, Pantech Corp., Pantech Wireless Inc., Research In Motion Limited, Research in Motion Corporation, Sharp Corporation, Sharp Electronics Corporation, Sharp Electronics Manufacturing Company of America Inc., Sierra Wireless America Inc., Sierra Wireless Inc., Sony Corporation of America, Sony Electronics Inc., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications (USA) Inc., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Sony Kabushiki Kaisha, T-Mobile USA Inc., UTStarcom Inc., UTStarcom Personal Communications LLC, ZTE (USA) Inc., ZTE Corporation, ZTE Solutions Inc.

Golden Bridge Technology Inc. v. AT & T Inc. et al
1:10-cv-00428-SLR-MPT
Date filed: 05/21/2010

According to the case docket, defendents in the case include Apple Inc., Motorola Mobility Inc., Research In Motion Corporation, Dell Inc., and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

According to the USPTO assignment database, Google was assigned a total of 65 granted 3G W-CDMA patents from Gold Bridge Technology and 1 pending patent application, which was executed on November 15th, 2011 and recorded by the patent office on December 14th, 2011.

Granted Patents

Pending Patent Application

Conclusion

The patents assigned appear to include GBT’s Common Packet Channel patents, which they called their most significant IP on their website, because that channel is the one used to access emails and web pages.

While this patent assignment took place halfway through November, it appeared from a look at the legal dockets that the lawsuits are still going on.

There’s no way to tell from the USPTO assignment database any of the terms of the assignment of these patent filings.

Ok, so it’s publicly known far and wide that Google is acquiring Motorola Mobility, which is one of the defendants in the one of the cases. It’s somewhat odd and interesting that Google would be able to acquire these patent filings from GBT.

Share

13 thoughts on “Google Acquires Significant 3G Patents”

  1. Well, one thing is for sure. Google is not shy about expanding its ever-growing patent base. Looks like mobile communications is the flavor of the month then?

    The fact that their acquiring so much kinda makes me nervous actually. I never like to see one entity in control of so much.

    I think the Google of the future will be much different than simply a search engine company…something more though…that’s for sure.

    Mark

  2. Thanks Bill for sorting out all those info.
    I agree with Mark, on the fact that it starts to be scary to see so much power into action without really knowing where it goes….

  3. I really think that it will be very dangerous if Google will gain more power. It’s already on the top, and even growing rapidly. Someday it’ll control everything found in the net! Wow! Scary! Thanks for the info Bill. Gives me shivers.

  4. Hi Mark,

    Google is continuing to grow its patent portfolio, and if the GBT claims as to the value of their patents is true, then these are an important set of wireless patents.

    Google has canceled a number of projects that they had been working on the past few years, but it looks like they haven’t slowed down when it comes to mobile and wireless, and given that an increasing number of people are accessing the Web through mobile devices, it’s probably not too much of a surprise that they are headed in this direction.

    Google has also been acquiring a lot of hardware patents over the past year. The Google of the future will definitely be something different.

  5. Hi Sylvain,

    I find myself a little shocked when I check out the patent assignment database and see an acquisition like this from Google.

    I don’t know if Google just acquired the patents in this case, or even possibly GBT itself, though I’m leaning towards just the patents. Not sure of the total implications of this acquisition either, but my imagination has been taking me through a lot of different scenerios.

  6. Hi Lance,

    Google has its share of serious competitors on a number of different fronts, from Apple to Facebook to Microsoft, and more. Those companies don’t lack when it comes to deep pockets and innovative ideas, as well as talented engineering staff.

    On its surface, this acquisition seems like a really good move for Google, but I don’t know how much value these 3G patents actually have, or how essential they might be when it comes to using wireless services. It appears that some of the technologies are baked into the standards for 3G, but I don’t know if that means that many of these wireless companies will now need to come to Google for licenses to use what’s described in a number of these patents.

  7. Pretty much all the major players in this technology are listed in this lawsuit, I wonder how Google will leverage these patents. I have to agree with one of the previous comments about Googles dominance. Is it safe to let one entity wield so much power?

  8. First of all thanks for info bill, it’s informative. I think Google progressing very rapidly because of their good performance. Just wanna congratulate them for acquiring significant 3G patents. Thanks again. :)

  9. Hi Matt,

    The range of companies involved in the litigation was definitely something that stood out to me as well.

    But, I’m not convinced that the acquisition of these specific patents is enough by itself to make Google so dominant, and as far as I could tell looking through the dockets for these cases, the litigation that I wrote about is still in mediation, to be heard sometime this month.

  10. Hey,

    I remember reading about this on mashable however i have to wonder: is google planning to do something with all these patents they are buying or they are just buying and forget about them ?

    Dennis

  11. Hi Dennis,

    As far as I know, Mashable never wrote about this acquisition of 3G patents by Google from GBT. I just did a site search there, and I’m not seeing anything from them.

    Google may be buying some of the patents they’ve been acquiring for a number of different reasons. For instance:

    1. To develop the technology in some of them.
    2. To protect themselves from companies claiming that Google might be infringing on patents that might cover similar technologies
    3. To enter into cross-licensing deals with companies that might be interested in using the technologies covered.

  12. Hey Bill, I also remember an article in Mashable about Google buying patents from several companys, and they never actually mention what they do with it…

    What’s the major deal behind it?

Comments are closed.