Google Acquires Unisys Patents, Including a Java API Patent

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.

There is at least one that clearly appears to focus upon search as well:

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:

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One thought on “Google Acquires Unisys Patents, Including a Java API Patent”

  1. I think Google is making a smart decision in increasing its intellectual property portfolio. In regards to Google’s present issue with patent infringement. It reminds of Apple’s patent infringement with Nokia. Apple has given Nokia a lot of money for the different patents they have crossed. Patent infringement has become a booming business when it comes to the people holding high valued intellectual property.

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