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Google Stands Behind HTC in Patent Dispute With Apple

TechCrunch reports that a Google spokesperson issued a statement yesterday indicating that the company will "stand behind" handset manufacturer HTC in its patent dispute with Apple.

"We are not a party to this lawsuit. However, we stand behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it," a Google spokesperson emailed us.

Apple's lawsuits against HTC have been seen primarily as an attack on Google's Android operating system, for which HTC is the largest handset manufacturer. Throughout the legal filings related to the Apple's lawsuits, the company distinguishes between alleged infringements by HTC's Android-based handsets and its Windows Mobile-based devices, suggesting that the Android operating system itself is a defining characteristic of at least one class of infringing devices.

A little odd that Google would proactively send us a statement for something they're not technically involved in. But, as we're all well aware, this suit is much more about Google's Android operating system than HTC. And it seems that Google is well aware of that too.

As we noted earlier, the clear focus of the suit centers around the HTC devices that are Android-based, including the Nexus One, the Magic/myTouch 3G, the Dream/G1, the Hero, and the Droid Eris. And in fact, with the Nexus One, Google worked closely with HTC to make the device, and is completely in control of selling it.

Apple's suit filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware seeks an injunction against infringement of Apple's patents by HTC, as well as triple damages and maximum interest as determined by a jury. Meanwhile, Apple's complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeks a halt to imports of a number of HTC handsets, a common tactic used by parties in patent disputes to encourage resolution.