In a recent patent suit between HTC and Apple, the US International Trade Commission found the Taiwanese manufacturer liable on two counts of patent infringement in its Android-based devices (see our earlier post for a detailed analysis of the case and its effects).

Although this suit only involves Apple and HTC, its legal ramifications could affect Android as a whole - since the alleged infringements are core parts of the Android OS developed by Google.

Giving his views at Google's Mobile Revolution conference in Tokyo, Google's mouthpiece and executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has hit back with a stinging criticism of Apple's lawsuits. Schmidt points out that Apple are jealous of Android's rapid growth and the lawsuit is simply an attempt to slow it down. Over 550,000 Android devices are being activated daily, an increase from 400,000 in May, according to Schmidt

Perth Now heard the following remarks from Schmidt:

"The big news in the past year has been the explosion of Google Android handsets and this means our competitors are responding," he said.

"Because they are not responding with innovation, they're responding with lawsuits... We have not done anything wrong and these lawsuits are just inspired by our success."

Furthermore, according to CNET he added that:

"We have seen an explosion of Android devices entering the market and, because of our successes, competitors are responding with lawsuits as they cannot respond through innovations," he said. "I'm not too worried about this."

When asked about potentially providing financial support should HTC lose, Schmidt said: "We will make sure they don't lose, then."

Schmidt stressed that Google would be supporting HTC's fight against Apple and was confident that HTC would prevail. However, Schmidt did not clarify as to whether Google's "support" would be material, or simply moral.

Although Android is free to license, hardware manufacturers may be less amenable towards using it to power their devices without assurances from Google as they (like HTC) are becoming vulnerable to legal challenges from the likes of Microsoft and Apple. Schmidt's vocal support for HTC should help re-assure some of those manufacturers.

Sources: PerthNow and CNET