Google has announced that it has acquired a further 187 patents and 36 applications from IBM as it continues to compete against fellow technology giants Microsoft and Apple. It has been confirmed that the latest patents include a system for "using semantic networks to develop a social network".
The announcement follows Google's purchasing of 100,000 patents from IBM in the summer. The search giant has, in fact, spent billions bolstering its rights portfolio over the last few months. Motorola Mobility, for example, was recently purchased by Google for $12.5 billion.
One of the driving influences behind Google's intense acquisition of patents is the high-profile lawsuits it is currently facing from Microsoft and Apple, among others.
Vicki Salmon, the chair of the litigation committee of the UK Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, explained to the BBC that the US Patent 7,865,592, which relates specifically to social networking sites, suggests that Google was moving from protecting existing technology and beginning to plan for the future.
The patent, she explained, allows Google to identify "common interests between users of a communication network".
"When you start you have to play catch-up," she added. "When you've finished playing catch-up and you've got yourself in a stronger position, you then can begin to look forward."
Another interesting patent acquired by Google is for a method for using web-based applications across additional devices. There is also a patent for a so-called computer phone.
Google and IBM have, however, declined to comment about the latest round of acquisitions.
The search giant's agreement to buy Motorola Mobility, announced in August 2011, includes 24,500 patents. Many of these patents could be used to defend the use of features on its Android mobile operating system, which currently leads the way in the mobile phone market.
The deal, though, is still be being reviewed by the competition regulators. The Motorola agreement followed Google's losing out on buying the 6,000-strong patent portfolio of Nortel, the now bankrupt telecommunications firm. Ultimately, the search giant was outbid by a consortium of companies including Apple, Microsoft and Blackberry manufacturer Research in Motion.
Reflecting on the ongoing patent wars, Ms Salmon added: "The reality is that you've got a fairly vicious turf war going on between the different operating systems.
"People want to be in there, and they want their platform established and people to be using them."