Due to the success of the Android operating system, numerous companies such as Oracle, Microsoft Apple have filed infringement claims against Android manufacturers. These lawsuits have become such a problem that some have succumbed to the demands, and the result of one settlement is that Microsoft gets $5 from each Android handset HTC sells, and they have also filed to get $15 a device from Samsung.
Obviously, it would be in Google's best interest to stop these attacks on its partners, however they have very few patents to leverage in negotiations. The search giant was bidding on numerous Nortel patents earlier this year, but were outbid by a consortium which included Apple and Microsoft. In response, Google purchased Motorola Mobility, and now they are beefing up their portfolio even more with the purchase of 1,023 patents from IBM.
These patents cover a number of things, ranging from Java to search. Presumably, they will be put to good use allowing Google to protect Android and defend its partners like Samsung and HTC from hostile lawsuits. They could also be used for "evil" if Google decides to begin attacking competitors, but based on the company's past actions, this seems unlikely. In fact, they recently gave HTC patents to use as defense against Apple litigation.
Regardless of whether a company is using their patents for good or evil, I really dislike the current frequency and number of patent wars. From nearly every technology company, you hear about a new lawsuit almost as much as you hear about new products and innovations. I think it would be best for consumers if companies focused on innovation instead of litigation, but in the mean time I hope that Google does the right thing with its newly acquired patents.[Bloomberg]