As far as we can tell, we’re the first to coin this: patacquisition: A company purchased solely for its patent portfolio. See: acqui-hire. There’s perhaps no better way to describe HTC’s purchase of cloud-computing company Dashwire Friday.
The deal, which was valued at “up to $18.5 million” according to the Wall Street Journal (NSDQ: NWS), is ostensibly because Dashwire makes software that helps mobile devices access cloud storage and Web applications. But Dashwire’s deal with Intellectual Ventures, the controversial patent-holding company, probably didn’t hurt its attractiveness to suitors such as HTC.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a patent arms race going on right now in the mobile industry as companies look to defend themselves against rampant lawsuits. Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is scrambling to get its hands on as many patents as possible, and its Android partners besieged by legal threats from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google are also starting to take matters into their own hands. HTC has already agreed to buy S3 Graphics, which owns patents that were said by the International Trade Commission to cover certain aspects of Apple’s Mac computers.
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Updated 4:45 p.m. PT – Intellectual Ventures reached out to note that HTC is already a customer, so adding Dashwire’s patents isn’t really necessary. They had no comment on whether patacquisition is a stupid word.