Google Deal May Stabilize Patent Fights

Google Inc.’s $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. was a welcome development because it may bring “stability” to a recent slate of smartphone patent disputes.

Verizon was the first U.S. wireless carrier to make a big bet on Google’s Android software, and it relied heavily on Motorola’s Droid smartphone lineup to combat the iPhone, which was exclusively distributed by rival AT&T Inc. for four years. Even though Verizon started selling the iPhone earlier this year, it has a lot at stake since it still distributes millions of smartphones from Motorola Mobility and other device makers that support the Android system.

By gaining Motorola’s roughly 17,000 patents in the deal, Google said it could more easily protect its Android mobile software from lawsuits. Apple, Microsoft Corp., and Oracle Corp. have sued Google, Motorola and device-maker HTC Corp. over allegations of intellectual property violations.

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