Qualcomm buys Palm and other mobile patents from HP


— 9:21 AM on January 24, 2014

Qualcomm has picked up an extensive mobile patent portfolio from HP. The portfolio includes the Palm and webOS patents that HP acquired in 2010. It also has patents associated with HP's old iPAQ handhelds and with Bitfone, an HP subsidiary that specializes in mobile device management software.

All told, the deal comprises about 1,400 granted and pending patents in the U.S. and around 1,000 in other countries. Qualcomm's short press release doesn't reveal how much the company paid for the patents. However, it does say that the patents cover "technologies that include fundamental mobile operating system techniques" and will "enable the company to offer even more value to current and future licensees."

As The Verge points out, Qualcomm makes a lot of money from licensing. The financial results (PDF) from its last fiscal year indicate that 32% of the company's $25 billion revenue came from licensing.

According to an HP spokesman quoted by The Verge, HP will retain a license to the patents sold to Qualcomm. It's unclear what the sale means for LG, though. The consumer electronics company purchased webOS last year and has since deployed the operating system in televisions. LG acquired the webOS source code as part of that deal, but patents weren't included. Instead, LG licensed "fundamental operating system and user interface technologies" from HP.

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