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The way I see it, the driving force that led Google to offer $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility (MMI) -- a 60% premium -- was a combination of serious threats that MMI made to Google. Those threats were perfectly legitimate and credible because the underlying business logic was reasonable and compelling, but the bottom line is that if Google had not offered to pay the price MMI demanded, there would have been four very near-term consequences that would have resulted in a disaster of catastrophic proportions for Android. Three of the four threats were also made in public.
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Google is in the process of purchasing Motorola Mobility, which owns a large collection of patents pertaining to mobile phones. It's possible that this can offer them some protection from lawsuits from Apple and Microsoft. Also Google is licensing out their patent portfolio to HTC and possibly other, which vendors, which means that multiple Andriod phone manufacturers can sue Apple and Microsoft directly, removing some threat of the potential cost-per-license should Google lose in their lawsuits versus Apple and Microsoft. Nobody wants Google to start charging for Android because that could cause phones to become more expensive, or could limit available profits for companies who make competitors to the iphone.
As one of the biggest names in tech, I don't worry about Google and their legal battles. While it does appear that Google has made some mistakes lately, Android is a huge hit so they're probably being sued by companies who want a piece of that action. This will probably force Google to charge for Android licenses to pay off Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, and others. While having to buy a license would bug Samsung and other manufacturers, if they were to make phones based off Microsoft Windows Phone 7 they'd have to pay for licensing for that too. The real losers are probably Symbian and Meego, 2 phone OS's that don't have much life in them left.