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Eric Schmidt: Google supports Android OEMs against patent lawsuits

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Google says it's offering assistance to Android OEMs caught up in lawsuits — even offering up its own patents, in some cases.

It's not a new statement, exactly, but Eric Schmidt told an audience in Taipei today that Google will continue to support Android OEMs against patent lawsuits, and specifically called Apple's case against HTC "not correct." According to Schmidt, Google's support comes in the form of information and access to expertise, and — perhaps more importantly — access to Google's patent portfolio, which can be licensed or used in litigation. (HTC just countersued Apple again using patents purchased by Google, for example.)

What Schmidt and Google haven't yet mentioned, however, is any promise of direct financial assistance to OEMs caught up in lawsuits, or any indication that Google's interested in taking on Apple or Microsoft directly. Since most of the disputes involve core technologies in Android, it's always been curious that Google hasn't gone on the offensive to try and protect its ecosystem as a whole, instead of simply helping individual OEMs play defense. We'll see if that changes if and when Google's Motorola acquisition is completed and Google takes ownership of both Motorola's patent portfolio and outstanding lawsuit against Apple — it's possible the real war is yet to begin.