Google sells patents to HTC, HTC uses them to sue Apple

According to Bloomberg, Google -- who previously never missed an occasion to whine about patents and patent litigation -- seems to have been quietly buying patents of its very own from Palm, Motorola, and Openwave Systems, then sold them to HTC so HTC to use them to sue Apple. Pretty slick.

The lawsuit contends the Mac computer, iPhone, iPod, iPad, iCloud and iTunes are infringing patents for a way to upgrade software wirelessly; a way to transfer data between a microprocessor and a support chip; a method to store user preferences, and a way to provide consistent contact between application software and a radio modem.

HTC also amended a complaint with the International Trade Commission today, adding five of the former Google patents to a case that targets many of the same products. Three of those patents Google bought from Openwave and two others had been owned by Palm, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) last year.

Apple originally sued HTC, and HTC has countersued before. The strange part is that HTC says they "will continue to protect its patented inventions" when Google just bought said inventions for HTC last week? Apple buys patents as well, from Fingerworks for multitouch to Nortel for LTE, and no doubt won't waste any time asserting them, it's just interesting wording on HTC's part.

With Apple still suing Android manufacturers instead of Google directly, and Google now supplying arms to those manufacturers instead of going after Apple directly, one thing is for certain -- we're going to need a lot of popcorn.