Google = Pac Man. Patents = little white pellets. Google's hope = some of those patents are the big blinking white pellets. Everyone Google's fighting in lawsuits = ghosts.
Okay, fine, I'll elaborate. Google purchased 1203 patents from IBM, it was announced yesterday. It was just two months ago that Google acquired 1030 patents from IBM and, of course, it acquired some 17,500 patents in the purchase of Motorola.
Google is building an arsenal of patents designed to arm it's OEM partners (Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola) so they can more effectively counter what it calls a "hostile, organized campaign" by companies including Apple and Microsoft against the Android operating system for mobile devices.
The crux of the escalating patent war is that Android is a free, open-source program that relies on some nonproprietary features Google didn't create and allows outside developers to modify the code. Because of this, Google and handset makers that use the system have been vulnerable to lawsuits claiming Android was built using research done by other technology companies thus infringing upon their patents.
So why do you care? You care because this has big ramifications for the future of technological development. A massive patent war has the potential of leaving fewer companies able to develop on particular platforms. That stifles innovation. It could also be argued that fewer companies building on a given platform would allow for more quality control and more reliability for what does get built. Regardless, war is coming and it will effect the phone in your pocket.