Google on Wednesday threw its backing behind HTC, maker of the Internet giant's Nexus One smartphone, after Apple accused the Taiwan company of infringing on iPhone patents.
"We are not a party to this lawsuit," the Mountain View, California, company said in a statement. "However, we stand behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it."
Apple filed suit on Tuesday against HTC, accusing it of infringing on 20 patents related to the "user interface, underlying architecture and hardware" of the iPhone, the popular touchscreen device introduced in 2007.
Apple did not specifically name Google in the lawsuit but many of the HTC smartphones cited in its filing are powered by Google's open-source Android operating system.
HTC, which stands for High Tech Computer Corp. and is Taiwan's leading smartphone maker, has denied infringing iPhone patents and said it takes "American and international patent rights protection seriously."
In the suit, filed in a US District Court and with the US International Trade Commission, Apple is asking for unspecified damages and an injunction to prevent HTC from making or selling products using the patents in dispute.
HTC makes handsets for a number of leading US companies and is the manufacturer of the touchscreen Nexus One unveiled by Google in January.
Patent lawsuits are a fairly regular occurrence among technology giants and Apple is currently being sued by Nokia for patent infringement. Apple has fired back a countersuit against the Finnish mobile phone giant.
(c) 2010 AFP