Google, the Internet leader in search, confirmed on Friday that it has bought more than 1,000 technology patents from IBM.
The 1,030 patents has doubled the company's current holdings. Google already held more than 700 patents, mostly for search engine technology.
"Like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business," a Google spokesman said in a statement. He also added saying "Bad software patent litigation is a wasteful war that no one will win."
The Google purchase was first reported by blog SEO by the Sea on Thursday ahead of Google's statement.
However, the decision to purchase patents from IBM is in contrast to statement made by Google's CEO Larry Page early this July.
At the time, he denied that the Android patent situation was severe. He argued that rather than obtain intellectual property, the company would work on developing its own technologies.
"We're really committed to Android" Page said, "[but] we will support it in a cost-effective manner."
The reason for Google's purchase is likely to guard against potential patent lawsuits rather than to do with actual technology licensing.
Google's general consul Kent Walker said "a patent isn't innovation. It's the right to block someone else from innovating," in an interview with TechCrunch.
Google (and manufacturers of devices powered by Google's Android operating system) has been facing numerous patent lawsuits related to Android-powered smartphones,
Currently, Android is the most used mobile software for smartphones, with nearly 40 percent of the world market, according to research firm IDC.
Early this month, a combination of companies that are Android's direct competitors, including Apple and Microsoft, agreed to buy a portfolio of 6,000 patents owned by Nortel Networks Corp. for $4.5 billion. Research in Motion, Ericsson, Sony, and EMC were also involved in the purchase of Nortel Networks patents.
Google initially offered $900 million (and eventually raised its bid to $3 billion) for these patents but was outbid by the Apple-Microsoft coalition.
Google is likely to use its newly-acquired IBM patents to enhance its defense in the mobile market, although it's unclear how at this point.
IBM regularly obtains new patents. In 2009, it obtained nearly 5,000. The number sold to Google is relatively small by comparison.
There is also speculation that Google may have acquired some of the patents to protect itself against potential litigation for new products it plans to introduce in the future.
Furthermore, having a large portfolio of patents could deter competitors from suing Google for fear retaliation. That is, the larger Google's portfolio is, the more likely it will hold patents that could be used to sue its competitors.
Intellectual property specialist Florian Mueller called it "a significant transaction that will serve as a deterrent for anyonecontemplating a lawsuit against Google."
Earlier this week Google filed a patent infringement suit against Nokia, ZTE and Huawei.
The next likely move for Google is to acquire patent holding company, InterDigital which owns and licenses thousands of patents. Apple also addressed their interest in purchasing the firm, according to Bloomberg.