Apple has paid one billion yen, nearly $10 million, to license patents that were originally created by Palm for old Palm OS devices.
Developed by PalmSource the patents are now owned by a Japanese company called Access.
Apple has also licensed patents from Geoworks and Bell Communications Research.
The move is likely a way for Apple to avoid further legal charges in future. The smartphone and tablet sectors have become highly litigious as more devices arrive to market on a regular basis. In many cases, Apple has been responsible for launching attacks against competitors. Those attacks in recent months have led to attacks against the tech firm from various device manufacturers.
Microsoft also apparently knows the importance of the Access owned patents, having licensed the same patents in October 2010.
While Palm is no longer a player in the tablet and smartphone markets, the company was once a leader in its field. That former leadership led to many breakthroughs in the mobile sector which in turn led to numerous high-profile patent filings.
Ultimately, Palm was purchased by Hewlett-Packard for its WebOS platform, and HP eventually failed to turn the TouchdPad and Pre devices into major market players. HP eventually abandoned any serious attempt to develop its smartphone market.
While licensing patents ensures Apple is not sued for there use in the future, the company prefers to buy large patent portfolios so they can own the technology behind them. In some cases, Apple has teamed with other companies to acquire massive patent holding, sometimes for $1+ billion.
Do you think the patent system in the United States is broken given the money tech companies must now spend on patents in place of new research and development?