It was a surprise to see a number of Yahoo! patents listed in Google’s assignment database as having been assigned to Google. With news recently that Yahoo would be closing the Yahoo Directory, that seemed like a strategic choice. Now I’m wondering if we will ever see an independent Yahoo Search Engine ever again once their deal to have Microsoft supply search results to them ends.
The USPTO assignment database doesn’t disclose financial details of transactions like this, so we don’t know things like how much the transaction cost or if there were licensing agreements accompanying the transaction.
A number of these patents seem to have orginated at Yahoo!, but some were acquired by Yahoo when they acquired companies such as Altavista and Inktomi. Fastforward Technologies specialized in multi streaming broadcast technologies and was originally acquired by Inktomi.
Google was officially assigned the pending patent applications from CiiNow last Wednesday (August 27, 2014) in a transaction that was reported as being executed at the end of July.
From searching through the USPTO, I don’t see any other patents assigned to CiiNow, so that appears to have been all they owned. The USPTO assignments don’t include financial details, so that information is unavailable.
The Ciinow.com website appears to be completely unresponsive to visits. The LinkedIn profile of CiiNow Co-Founder and VP of Engineering Devendra (Deven) Raut left CiiNow in 2014 and joined Google as a Tech Biz Dev. It looks to me that Google acquired CiiNow, Inc.
On August 6th, Google announced that https was becoming a ranking signal for Google Search.
I’m not completely sure of the implications of a discovery I made earlier today yet, but I noticed at the USPTO assignment database that Google had been assigned a patent from AT&T in June, which was officially recorded on August 8th, 2014.
The patent is:
As part of the regular business analysis that I do on an ongoing basis, I like to keep an eye out for acquisitions made by search engines, and look at the technology that those companies being acquired have filed patents for.
When I heard about Google’s acquisition of Skybox, I jumped to the assumption that low-level orbiting satellites might be used in a manner similar to Google’s Project Loon to spread internet access to a wider audience across the globe. Or they might be used to make Google Maps a lot better with high resolution and frequently updated satellite images.
And then I looked at the patent filings assigned to Skybox Imaging, and quashed those assumptions, or put them off as secondary reasons why Google might have purchased the satellite company.
How much of an impact might high resolution and very frequently updated satellite images have upon a business analysis?
In November, Twitter disclosed in an amendment to its S1 filing that IBM was demanding licenses for three patents issued in 2006 that it claimed that Twitter was infringing upon. As far as we know, IBM didn’t file a lawsuit against Twitter, and this took place shortly before Twitter held its initial public offering.
This dispute appears to have been resolved, but we don’t know all of the details, and it’s questionable if we will ever learn about them. Here’s what the amendment said about the matter:
From time to time we receive claims from third parties which allege that we have infringed upon their intellectual property rights. In this regard, we recently received a letter from International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, alleging that we infringe on at least three U.S. patents held by IBM, and inviting us to negotiate a business resolution of the allegations.
Google acquired the company Wavii for a little more than $ 30 Million in April. There was some speculation that Wavii was an effort to match Yahoo’s purchase of Summly, which summarizes news from the Web.
A Wavii app did do just that – acquired and summarized news from the Web. When Wavii emerged from stealth mode, it was touted as a personalized news aggregator based upon topics rather than keywords. The app closed down with Google’s acquisition of the company, and instead of providing news aggregation services, it appears that the technology will help fuel Google Now, Google’s Knowledge Base, and Google Glass, according to the TechCrunch article linked above.
So what is that technology?
A couple of weeks ago, a federal bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Kodak’s patent portfolio to a group of companies that joined together to buy them at a discounted price. The group included Apple, Google, Facebook, and others. There were more than 1,000 patents involved, related to photography, storing photos, and sharing photos.
It makes sense for Google to have been interested in those patents, considering their involvement in smart phones with cameras, and their work on Google Glass, where taking pictures and recording video will likely be one of its strengths.
With Google Fiber, Android Operating Systems, and Motorola Phones, the business of Google is becoming as much about moving data across networks as it is in sending search data across networks. I noticed in Google’s patent assignments today a new entry which shows more movement in this direction.
Google acquired 58 patents from Proxim Wireless Corporation in an assignment noted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as having been executed on July 9th, 2012, and recorded on August 7th, 2012. The USPTO doesn’t include any of the financial details of the transaction. Proxim Wireless still has a number of patents left in their portfolio, and the Proxim Wireless website is still online.
According to a press release for Proxim, the company has been engaged in the following types of business:
Using a combination of WLAN, Wi-Fi Mesh and Point-to-Point backhaul technologies, Proxim enables a wide variety of fixed and mobile applications, including: Continue reading