The U.S. International Trade Commission, which arbitrates patent-related disputes, has fielded more than a dozen cases in the past year related to smartphones and tablets. Because Google doesn’t profit directly from Android, it has been able to sit mostly on the sidelines while its partners were sued.
Google has been sued twice by competitors over Android -- Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and Skyhook Wireless Inc. -- and has never led a patent-infringement case against another company. It declined to comment for this story, as did Motorola Mobility and Apple.
An ITC judge last month found HTC’s Android phones infringed two Apple patents, which may spur a U.S. import ban.