Google is offering $900 million for 6,000 Nortel telecom patents covering 4G, wireless, data networking, optical, voice, semiconductors and other telecom areas, according to ZDNet.
Here's Google's official response:
The tech world has recently seen an explosion in patent litigation, often involving low-quality software patents, which threatens to stifle innovation. Some of these lawsuits have been filed by people or companies that have never actually created anything; others are motivated by a desire to block competing products or profit from the success of a rival’s new technology. The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits. It's for these reasons that Google has long argued in favor of real patent reform, which we believe will benefit users and the U.S. economy as a whole.
But as things stand today, one of a company’s best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services. Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories.
So after a lot of thought, we’ve decided to bid for Nortel’s patent portfolio in the company’s bankruptcy auction. Today, Nortel selected our bid as the “stalking-horse bid," which is the starting point against which others will bid prior to the auction. If successful, we hope this portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community—which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome—continue to innovate. In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it's the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners.
It's a smart move by Google to acquire patents in "defense" against potential patent trolls. One would hope that is the only reason and Google isn't aiming to become a patent troll themselves. Remember the Google motto - Do no evil!
I wonder if some of these patents include fixed mobile convergence and VoIP as well? Will have to do some more digging. But with the popularity of Android and their Google Voice telecom application, I wouldn't be surprised if some of these patents encompass the future direction of Android and Google Voice, including VoIP.