Google hands HTC a patent weapon

Google has started to dish out patents to those outfits which are currently having to battle with the patent troll Apple.

Apple, worried that it might have some competition in the smartphone and tablet industry, has been trying to top rivals who use Google’s Android using patent law. So far, Apple has not dared take on Google, but had been hoping to scare off its business partners by suing them instead.

Now Google has entered the battle by giving HTC nine patents to pursue new infringement claims against Apple.

Google bought the patents less than a year ago. Four come from Motorola, three from Openwave Systems and two from Palm.

According to Bloomberg the move gives HTC more ammunition in its fight to fend off multiple patent-infringement claims lodged by Apple.

Google’s involvement escalates the war in a way that Apple almost certainly would not like. It means that rather than picking off Google’s business partners without having to deal with the search engine outfit’s huge resources, it will have to take the outfit on by proxy.

Google, which has been in trouble lately because it bought Motorola Mobility and seems likely to give it a preferential treatment when it comes to Android, needed to show its business partners that it still loved them.

As a result, HTC lawyers were whistling cheerfully as they sued Apple and filed a complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging infringement of the patents obtained from Google.

Florian Mueller, a Munich-based consultant and intellectual property analyst said that Google knows that HTC is under tremendous legal pressure from Apple and clearly on the losing track. Intervention on Google’s part increases the likelihood of direct litigation by Apple against Google.