Google appears to be continuing a trend that sees it acquiring intellectual property from some of the most well known names in the technology field (including Xerox, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and other acquisitions), by acquiring 36 granted patents from Unisys Corporation, in an assignment that was recorded at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 17th, and executed on February 29th, 2012.
The patent office doesn’t record information such as the financial terms of the transfer. Unisys will be reporting upon its first quarter 2012 financial results next Tuesday, April 24th, and maybe we’ll find out more then.
Google is presently in the fourth day of a patent infringement case initiated by Oracle, and both sides are supposedly having some problems explaining what an Application Programming Interface (API) is to the jury in the case. I have to confess that I would have some problems understanding some of the issues involved in the case as well.
I’ve only had a chance to skim through a number of the patents involved, but I have listed and linked to the patents involved in this transaction below, and at least a couple of them clearly involve Java, with one specifically about Java APIs. I don’t know if that has any potential standing upon the litigation between Oracle and Google, though.
- Generation Of Java Language Application Programming Interface For An Object-Oriented Data Store (US Patent 7437740)
- Common Gateway Which Allows Java Applets To Make Program Calls To Oltp Applications Executing On An Enterprise Server Cross Reference To Co-Pending Applications (US Patent 6397220)
There is at least one that clearly appears to focus upon search as well:
- Automated System And Method For Capturing And Managing User Knowledge Within A Search System (US Patent 6327593)
The patent describes an individualized and interactive approach enabling searchers to build a knowledge base of related terms and concepts. Here’s a snippet from the patent description:
During a first iteration of a search, a user provides one or more natural language concepts. A search of the repository is performed to locate any related ones of the data items, which are then displayed for the user as search results. A user may thereafter refine the scope of the search by providing additional natural language concepts during one or more additional iterations of the search. After successful search results are obtained, the user may create one or more new associations, wherein each association relates any selected one of the natural language concepts located during any iteration of the search with any selected one of the data items located during any iteration of the search.
Similarly, the user may delete selected relationships existing between located ones of the natural language concepts and selected ones of the data items. The knowledge base stored in the repository thereby evolves to reflect the knowledge and preferences of an individual user. Subsequently performed searches employing similar concepts will therefore yield successful search results without the need for multiple search iterations.
The earliest of these patents was filed in 1996, and the latest in 2004, with 24 of the patents filed in the 1990s. It’s hard to say how much value this group of patents might have to Google overall, but it definitely seems to be the continuation of a trend over the past few years that sees Google on a shopping spree of intellectual property that includes acquisitions from both small companies as well as larger ones.
Here are the rest of the patents Google acquired from Unisys:
- Selective Multiple Protocol Transport And Dynamic Format Conversion In A Multi-User Network (US Patent 5848415)
- Computer Based System And Method For Modeling Activities Of People In An Organization (US Patent 6023572)
- Human Resource Management System For Staffing Projects (US Patent 6049776)
- System And Method For Arranging Database Restoration Data For Efficient Data Recovery In Transaction Processing Systems (US Patent 6085200)
- Multicomputer With Distributed Directory And Operating System (US Patent 6167430)
- Multicomputer System (US Patent 6192514)
- A Method For Integrating Models In A Modeling Tool Into An Object-Oriented Repository (US Patent 6327698)
- Multicomputer With Distributed Directory And Operating System (US Patent 6393459)
- System And Method For Asynchronously Receiving Multiple Packets Of Audit Data From A Source Databased Host In A Resynchronization Mode And Asynchronously Writing The Data To A Target Host (US Patent 6430577)
- Method And System For Simulating A Database Table In Response To A Database Query (US Patent 6470350)
- Cellular Multiprocessor Data Warehouse (US Patent 6490585)
- Task Oriented Dialog Model And Manager (US Patent 6510411)
- Graphical Table Of Contents For A Help System (US Patent 6587121)
- Method For Dynamically Linking Two Objects In Two Different Models (US Patent 6611847)
- Method And Apparatus For Providing A Hyperlink Within A Computer Program That Access Information Outside Of The Computer Program (US Patent 6667747)
- Method And Apparatus For High Speed Parallel Execution Of Multiple Points Of Logic Across Heterogeneous Data Sources (US Patent 6697835)
- Making Cgi Variables And Cookie Information Available To An Oltp System (US Patent 6715080)
- Method And Apparatus For Warning A User Of Potential Limitations Of A Database Request And/Or The Results Provided Thereby (US Patent 6728693)
- Method And Apparatus For Using Prior Results When Processing Successive Database Requests (US Patent 6728699)
- Method And Apparatus For A Web Application Server To Upload Multiple Files And Invoke A Script To Use The Files In A Single Browser Request (US Patent 6751618)
- Method And Apparatus For High Speed Parallel Accessing And Execution Of Methods Across Multiple Heterogeneous Data Sources (US Patent 6760719)
- Session Based Security Profile For Internet Access Of An Enterprise Server (US Patent 6782425)
- Proactive Method For Ensuring Availability In A Clustered System (US Patent 6986076)
- Tool Supporting System Log File Reporting (US Patent 7031981)
- Computer Program Having An Object Module And A Software Project Definition Module Which Customize Tasks In Phases Of A Project Represented By A Linked Object Structure (US Patent 7155700)
- Server Computer Program Having An Object Module And A Process Execution Module Which Start Multiple Phases Of A Linked-Object Structure In An Unpredictable Sequence (US Patent 7159206)
- Computer Program Having An Object Module And A Software Development Tool Integration Module Which Automatically Interlink Artifacts Generated In Different Phases Of A Software Project (US Patent 7174348)
- Method For Allowing A Clustered Computer Systems Manager To Use Disparate Hardware On Each Of The Separate Servers Utilized For Redundancy (US Patent 7178057)
- Method Of And Apparatus For Testing A Server (US Patent 7284161)
- Automating Document Reviews In A Project Management System (US Patent 7302674)
- Synchronizing Data Between A Data Store And A Project Management Client Tool (US Patent 7437739)
- Method And Mechanism For The Development And Implementation Of A Web-Based User Interface (US Patent 7506045)
- Sending Notifications To Project Members In A Project Management System (US Patent 7565643)