Qualcomm strengthened its patent holding with the acquisition of a portfolio from HP that includes technology developed by smartphone maker Palm, which HP acquired in 2010.
The portfolio encompasses around 1,400 granted patents and pending patent applications from the US, along with 1,000 granted and pending patents from other countries. The technology they cover includes “fundamental mobile operating system techniques”.
The patents also include those for technology developed by Compaq (which HP acquired in 2002) for its iPaq device line, and mobile device management player Bitfone, an HP acquisition in 2006.
Qualcomm said the acquisition “further enhances the strength and diversity” of its patent portfolio and “will enable the company to offer even more value to current and future licensees”.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
As well as its processor and wireless technology business, Qualcomm runs a lucrative patent licensing operation, Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL). In the company’s fourth fiscal quarter for 2013 (ended 30 September), QTL generated revenue of $1.87 billion.
It was reported in October last year that HP was looking to sell some of its mobile patents, including those for webOS, which it acquired when it bought Palm for $1.2 billion in April 2010. The Palm acquisition was later written down as HP struggled with its mobile strategy.
The company recently removed some conditions attached to the patents that might have previously deterred potential buyers.
Meg Whitman, HP’s CEO, initially turned webOS, which is suitable for both smartphones and tablets, into an open source project handled by a subsidiary called Gram. The webOS code was subsequently sold to LG in February 2013.
However, under the terms of the LG deal, HP kept hold of the operating system’s patents, which were only licensed to the South Korean company.