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Mergers & acquisitions

Google & Moto: Beyond the Patently Obvious

It is patently obvious to most that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s US$12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility LLC is an attempt to strengthen its intellectual property shield. (See Patent Conspiracy Theorists.)

How well this strategy can work in practice and how it affects other companies and the wider industry now becomes the bigger question.

They say
The overall goal for Google with the buyout is to get itself "a broad patent license that covers the entire Android ecosystem" in a bid to protect itself against further lawsuits, Nilay Patel suggests at This Is My Next. This still may not prove to be easy for Google, even if the search giant helped grant Carl Icahn's wishes with the patent play. (See Moto Vs. Icahn 2: The Hunt for Patent Gold.) The deal will affect many of Google's handset rivals but it is not yet clear just how: Even as some suggest that BlackBerry could be hurt by the deal, markets are greedily looking at the value of the Canadian vendor's patent portfolio. MarketWatch reports on "speculation that the company’s patent portfolio could be worth up to $10 billion in a buyout scenario," which pushed the BlackBerry maker's stock up nearly 5 percent to $25.75 in Monday afternoon trading.

James Love at the Huffington Post suggests that the Google patent grab and other IPR battles suggest a system that is fundamentally broken. "When there are hundreds or even thousands of patents in a product, there is almost no chance that anyone can make and sell the product without infringing patents from third parties," he writes, suggesting that the U.S. should adopt a system of compulsory patent licensing for reasonable rates.

CNET, meanwhile, predicts that Google's plans to buy Motorola Mobility will likely trigger anti-trust questions from the federal government. Google revealed in June that the Federal Trade Commission is already examining its wider business.

We say
Read all of our coverage of Google's move to buy Motorola Mobility:



— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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