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Patent portfolio stirs up Google phone talks anew

Posted: 21 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:patent portfolio? Google phone? video games?

A report by global consulting and research firm Evaluaserve on a concealed competitive intelligence about Google's patent portfolio ignited speculations that the search engine giant is planning on a mobile phone and may be going after video games, TV, and mobile e-commerce too.

Asserting that Google may have an interest in video games, TV, and mobile e-commerce is hardly a revelation given that Google purchased an in-game ad company, AdScape, which is the proud owner of YouTube. It has also been pushing Google Checkout, not to mention mobile ads and assorted mobile services, for a while now.

The report claims that most of Google's patent portfolio may be missed by simply searching the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office's (USPTO) online database. Seeking Web 2.0-related patents published during the period January 2001 to May 2007, Evaluserve said that it scoured the Delphion patent database for patents and patent applications filed at the USPTO, the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), and the World-wide Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

Unsurprisingly, it found that Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Yahoo were the most active filers. Yet Google's patents turned out to be less evident through a USPTO search than the patents of its competitors.

"The search strategy given above concludes that only 13 percent of Google's total filings are at the USPTO, whereas 78 percent of its filings are PCT [Patent Cooperation Treaty] applications," the report said. "This result seems to stand out since more than 50 percent of the filings of Microsoft, IBM and Yahoo are also at the USPTO. However, a closer examination reveals that around 84 percent of the U.S. patent applications filed by Google in the Web 2.0 space did not have Google's name printed on the published patent application, since this information was not provided to the USPTO at the time of filing."

The firm cites as an example a Feb. 4, 2002, patent by Daly City, Calif.-based inventor Louis Irizarry, "Cellular telephone case," as a patent that lends weight to rumors about a Google phone. The patent does not list Google as the owner, unlike many other Google patents. However, a search of the USPTO's patent assignment database reveals that Google is indeed the owner.

Despite issuing denials that a Google phone is under wraps, Evaluserve identifies several other non-obvious Google patents that support the notion of a Google phone: U.S. Patent number 6,982,945, "Baseband Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Transceiver"; U.S. Patent number 6829289, "Application of a Pseudo-randomly Shuffled Hadamard Function in a Wireless CDMA System"; U.S. Patent Application number US 20070067329, "Overloaded Communication Session"; U.S. Patent Application number US20070159522, "Image-based Contextual Advertisement Method and Branded Barcodes"; U.S. Patent Application number US20060004627, "Advertisements for Devices with Call Functionality Such as Mobile Phones"; U.S. Patent Application number US20050185060, "Image Base Inquiry System for Search Engines for Mobile Telephones with Integrated Cameras"; and U.S. Patent Application number US20070066364, "Customized Data Retrieval Applications for Mobile Devices Providing Interpretation of Markup Language Data."

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

- Thomas Claburn

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