Seeing other people: HP sells patent remains of Palm, iPAQ, and Bitfone to Qualcomm

Seeing other people: HP sells patent remains of Palm, iPAQ, and Bitfone to Qualcomm


Qualcomm has just announced that the company will be acquiring 1400 patents from HP’s smartphone business. While this sale bundles together everything mobile from HP, including iPAQ and Bitfone intellectual property, the most notable inclusion is the patent portfolio associated with the now long-gone Palm, the company behind webOS.

The sale includes 1400 patents from the United States, including patent applications, as well as 1000 international patents and patent applications. HP will continue to hold a licence to these properties, but Qualcomm will have the final discretion in choosing to renew licences with HP.

No information on the amount paid is included within Qualcomm’s press release, however it gives some idea as to why Qualcomm made the purchase, noting the patents power “mobile operating system techniques”.

Qualcomm was likely motivated by their current patent portfolio, which already creates more revenue for the company than their hardware business. They may also be able to remove licensing fees for their customers, a possible persuasion to use Qualcomm chips, or as the release states to allow for “even more value to current and future licensees.”

HP says they will continue to create mobile products, including possible phones and new tablets in the future. Yet, with an increasingly enterprise focused structure, despite a promise that Smartphones will be important for the company from CEO Meg Whitman, it’s unlikely that HP will aim at competing with Samsung or Apple in the consumer space. This is especially predictable considering the budget aspirations of HP’s recent Android slates, marketed at developing nations and the very-cheap tablet market.

While this sale have little impact on the upcoming webOS TV, LG never gained ownership of HP / Palm patents when the company bought webOS from HP in February 2013. What this means is that LG may now need to licence the patents from Qualcomm before shipping any webOS products, or the licence may simply transfer from HP.

Either way, it’s the final sign that HP is done with Palm and webOS, the final remnants of their relationship being torn out from their playbook for good.

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