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Motorola purchase gives Google 17K issued, 7.5K filed patents

With its purchase of Motorola Mobility, Google will acquire nearly 25,000 patents, including 17,000 issued, giving it greater leverage in the lawsuit-saturated Android landscape.

Taking part in a conference call to discuss Google's $12.5 billion purchase of his company, Chief Executive Sanjay Jha discussed Motorola's extensive patent portfolio. Specifically, he said Motorola has 17,000 issued patents, and 7,500 patent applications filed.

Many of those inventions are related to wireless standards, but a number of patents are also considered non-essential. Jha said that's important, because it's non-essential patents that are required to deliver competitive products to market.

Jha also said he believes Google will be able to provide much better support to the Android ecosystem with the purchase of Motorola Mobility. With the ownership of some 25,000 patents and applications, Google will be better positioned to defend the Android platform from legal challenges fired by competitors like Apple and Microsoft.

In fact, Android device makers are said to have given Google support in its acquisition of Motorola. Andy Rubin, senior vice president of mobile at Google, said he spoke with a number of companies before the deal was announced on Monday, and they welcomed the news, despite the fact that the search giant will now enter the hardware business.

"I spoke yesterday to I think it was the top five Android licensees, and they all showed very enthusiastic support for the deal," Rubin said.

He added that Android was born as an "open platform," and as such, it doesn't make sense for Android to be restricted to a single handset maker. He and other executives stressed that Google's support for its Android partners will continue.

"It's business as usual for Android," Rubin said. "I see it as basically protecting the ecosystem and extending it as well."

Google's chief legal officer, David C. Drummond, said he expects his company will be granted regulatory approval of the Motorola deal. He noted that Google has not traditionally been in the hardware business.

As for Google's Android partners, Drummond also stressed the strong legal position Motorola's patent portfolio offers Google to defend the Android operating system from lawsuits.

"I think that we've seen some very aggressive licensing demands in the Android ecosystem," Drummond said. "And we think that having the patent portfolio will make sure that Android is open and vibrant, and the kind of platform that lots of companies can remain on."