Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion is all about owning a slew of patents to defend itself against its rivals -- Microsoft and Apple -- in the legal arena where patent licensing fees can be negotiated through lawsuits and countersuits.

Apple and Microsoft have recently joined to buy 6,000 wireless patents from the defunct Nortel.

Google had 1,000 patents at the beginning of this year and now Motorola would add another 17,000 to fortify itself against  challengers to the best-selling smartphone operating system, Android, in the second quarter.

The value of patents in software and hardware, such as smartphones has everything to do with litigation risk and nothing to do with technology.

“A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 patent claims that are largely questionable, David Drummond, Google's chief lawyer, wrote in a blog post earlier this month, before the Motorola acquisition.

Google has been sued twice by competitors over Android by Oracle Corp. and Skyhook Wireless Inc and it has never led a patent infringement suit against any other company.

Our competitors want to impose a 'tax' for these dubious patents that make Android devices more expensive for consumers, Drummond wrote. So Google responded to what he calls a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents, by buying (presumably equally bogus) patents of its own.

Moreover, with a hardware/ software integration, the search giant has developed a notion that the company wants to be like Apple, reports Cnet.