Internet search giant Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has recently accelerated its efforts to acquire more patents despite its public stance against tech companies that stockpile patents for the sole purpose of suing other companies. According to MIT Technology Review’s Antonio Regalado, the United States Patent and Trademark Office is awarding Google as many as 10 patents a day, making it the “third or fourth largest winner of software patents after IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).” Google now holds over 51,000 patents and patents pending, in contrast to the 38 that it held in 2007, noted MIT Technology Review.
Google’s new-found interest in acquiring thousands of patents contradicts previous statements by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt that condemned other companies’ use of patents as tools for frivolous lawsuits. “We have seen an explosion of Android devices entering the market and, because of our successes, competitors are responding with lawsuits as they cannot respond through innovations, said Schmidt at Google’s Mobile Revolution conference in 2011. “I’m not too worried about this,” he added.
Schmidt may not have been worried because Google would soon enter the patent-infringement lawsuit game itself. As noted by MIT Technology Review, Google acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012 in order to secure its 17,000 patents and 7,000 patent applications. Google’s Motorola subsidiary has also not been afraid to use its patents for lawsuits against its rivals.