Google has said it could owe billions of dollars in damages if the authors prevail in the lawsuit.

San Francisco - Google has acquired the artificial intelligence start-up DeepMind for $400-million, according to media reports on Monday.

The deal for the British company, which would be Google's largest-ever European acquisition, was first reported by the website and later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal.

The deal comes as the web software giant looks to spread its tentacles deeper into the real world.

Google recently splashed out 3.2 billion dollars to acquire Nest, a home automation company that sells a smart home thermostat, while also acquiring a string of robotic companies, including industry leader Boston Dynamics.

In June, it acquired Israeli traffic start-up Waze for a reported 1 billion dollars. DeepMind was founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. Its early commercial applications are in simulations, e-commerce and games.

According to the London-based start-up's website, DeepMind combines “the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms.”

According to Re/code, DeepMind has a team of at least 50 people and has secured more than 50 million dollars in funding, including from Founders Fund and Horizons Ventures.

The report said that the deal was personally led by Google founder and CEO Larry Page, who was largely motivated by the prospect of acquiring the company's workforce. - Sapa-dpa