Google Auctioning Over 200 Battery Patents

Google bought Motorola in 2012 at a cost of $12.5 billion in a decision that, at the time, seemed somewhat unusual: other than the Nexus product line, which Google has used a third party manufacturer for, the company has not had a handset or tablet manufacturing business. However, the main reason for buying Motorola was not because of the handset and tablet business but was because of Motorola's impressive array of patents. Indeed, when Google sold Motorola to Lenovo in 2014 for a shade under $3 billion, it kept the vast majority of patents for the protection of all Android manufacturers and customers. This decision was designed to prevent Android from becoming mired in lawsuit after lawsuit from the legitimate businesses, patent trolls and Apples of this world. We've news today that Google is putting up over two hundred battery patents for sale. The breakdown of these patents is approximately two thirds US patents and the remaining third from around the world, covering six categories: charging, chemistry, packaging, manufacturing, hardware and hybrid batteries. Within these categories we find technologies related to electric and hybrid vehicles the document notes that the market for rechargeable lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles is expected to reach $7.5 billion by 2020.

Google's decision to sell on these patents is probably more about passing on patents it no longer needs rather than a lack of interest in battery technology. Many of Google's products require battery technology, from the Pixel C tablet through to the Project Loon balloons, which will require some form of battery power reserve. There are several businesses known to be especially interested and pursuing better battery technologies including Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung, IBM, Qualcomm and Tesla. Battery life (and related to this, power consumption) is a very important part of the mobile world, because the smartest of smartphones is only useful as long as it has charge! Patents are also very important the the industry: Fortune notes that when a patent is up for sale, members of the LOT Network are protected from the business or individual that acquires the patent.

Google is still interested in pursuing patents across and remains one of the more active businesses acquiring and registering patents. In 2015, the company was granted over 2,800 patents in North America (ranking fifth amongst technology companies). For the twenty third year running, IBM was placed first, having registered 7,355 patents. Other businesses in the top ten include Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, Toshiba, Sony, LG, Intel and Microsoft.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.