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Google feeds patents to HTC for assault on Apple

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Android phone manufacturer HTC has sued Apple using nine patents it bought from Google. And Google acquired four of the nine from Motorola.

As reported by Bloomberg, Google transferred the nine patents to HTC on August 29, and HTC filed suit against the Jobsian cult on Wednesday. The suit marks a turning point for Google, which has been heavily criticized for inadequately protecting Android partners against legal attack.

Apple has filed multiple patent infringement suits against HTC over Android, and though HTC has already filed its own claims against Apple in an effort to defend itself, a suit backed by Google patents sends a new message.

None of the patents used by HTC originated with Google. Two began life at Palm, and three at Openwave System. But the four from Motorola have drawn the most attention. Last month, Google agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility in a deal valued at $12.5 billion, describing the move as a way of protecting Android from patent attack. Motorola Mobility controls more than 17,000 patents.

The four patented that originated with Motorola were acquired by Google before Motorola split in two – i.e. before Google agreed to buy Mototola Mobility. One was acquired in October, two in February, and one in March.

HTC has also added five of the Google patents to a case it previously filed against Apple with the International Trade Commission. Generally, the largest tech giants are wary of actually suing each other, but with Google escalating its role in the patent wars, one has to wonder if Apple will finally move on Mountain View directly. ®

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