The news that Google (GOOG) has received a patent on a modular data center in a shipping container raised an immediate question: what might this mean for Sun Microsystems’ Project Blackbox? The Blackbox, an energy-efficient data center housed in a 20-foot shipping container, was announced in Oct. 2005 and installed its first unit at Stanford in July. Executives of Sun have said the Blackbox resulted from a 2005 conversation between two of its technologists. Google applied for the patent in 2003.
Sun (JAVA) isn’t saying much just yet. “We are aware of a modular data center patent being issued to Google,” a Sun spokeswoman told The Register. “Our legal team is reviewing the patent, as this is a broad concept. Until that review is complete, we don’t have further comment.”
The Register speculated that Google may be an unlikely candidate to wield its patents to try and crush competitors, given its recent calls for patent reform, “As the company complains about the injustice of the patent system, it’s hard to imagine it going on the offensive with its new patent. Of course, stranger things have happened.”