Google, the giant search engine company, has confirmed on Friday that it has purchased more than 1,000 technology patents from IBM (International Business Machines Corp).

"Like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business," a Google spokesman said in a statement.

The Google purchase was first reported by blog SEO by the Sea on Thursday before Google's statement.

The reason for Google's purchase is likely to guard against potential patent lawsuits.

Google's general consul Kent Walker said "a patent isn't innovation. It's the right to block someone else from innovating," in with interview with TechCrunch.

Google (and manufacturers of its Android device) has been facing many patent lawsuits on the Android smartphone, which has become a big target as its world-wide popularity rises.

Recently, a coalition 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.

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.

There is also speculation that Google may have acquired some of these 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 of retaliation. That is, the larger Google's portfolio is, the more likely it will hold patents that could be used to sue its competitors.