Shazam Is Buying Back Its Own Core Patents To Go Multi-Media

in a move illustrating the growing role of technology patents, mobile music service Shazam is buying back some of its intellectual property – six years after it sold it to finance the company.

Back in 2005, Shazam sold the IP for its core audio-recognition technology plus related patents to the music royalty collector Broadcast Music Inc (BMI), for use outside of mobile.

Since then, Shazam itself has been branching outside of mobile, including growing TV ambitions.

CEO Andrew Fisher (via release): “This is the optimal time to repurchase the technology and patents so that we can continue to add to and protect our growing portfolio which will, in turn, allow Shazam to broaden our range of products, further developing Shazam for TV and other innovative offerings.”

Sums are not disclosed but the deal sees BMI becoming a Shazam shareholder and allowed to go on using the technology in its B2B space.

BMI bought the IP under the name BlueArrow to measure use of music on radio, TV and online for its roster of 500,000 songwriters and publishers, and exploited it through a new subsidiary it called Landmark Digital Services.

Shazam has two U.S. issued patents, according to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Patents.

It is facing competition from SoundHound, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Play and also from Echoprint, a new initiative from Echo Nest, 7digital and MusicBrainz that aims to make sound-identification technology available to all developers for free.