Goggle has bid $900M for Nortel’s patent portfolio, which is at auction in Nortel’s bankruptcy. Goggle said on its blog that it hopes that if its bid is successful that the Nortel patents (1) will create a disincentive for other to sue Goggle and (2) will provide a degree of freedom to operate to its partners and the open source community who have been involved in the Android and Chrome projects.
Google’s asserted reason for the attempt at acquisition–best defenses against patent litigation based on “low quality” patent is to have a formidable patent portfolio–is likely a true motive. The threat of counter-suit by a defendant can be deterrent to a competitor bringing the suit in the first place. However, threat of counter-suit is less–if at all–a factor when the plaintiff is a non-practicing entity. Also, although not asserted as a reason by Goggle, the Nortel portfolio may present opportunities for Google to license some of those patent to others to create a revenue stream.