Nortel, once one of the biggest telecoms company in the world but now in the death throes of bankruptcy, has selected Google's $900 million bid for its patent portfolio as the stalking horse bid. This doesn't mean that Google will automatically win Nortel's massive array of telecoms patents, but it does mean that Google is the preferred buyer.
Google, which has a history of lobbying for patent law reform, has been the target of many patent litigation suits. Google's relative infancy means that it has a lot less patents in the vault than big-hitters like Microsoft, Oracle and IBM, and buying Nortel's portfolio of 6,000 patents could provide better protection against patent litigation in the future. It's worth noting that both Apple and RIM have showed interested in the portfolio, too.
Mashable speculates that the patents -- which are nearly all telecoms-related -- will be used to defend against Oracle's attacks on Android's use of Java. We reckon that Google is simply looking to cover its future endeavors in the world of networking. In the absence of patent law reform, and continued threats to net neutrality, owning a bunch of telecoms patents sounds like a very sensible move.