Here’s an interesting twist in the ongoing patent war: seems like Google is helping out at least one of its licensees by handing HTC a couple of patents it owned until recently to help fight Apple. The patents, which were acquired from different sources (four from Motorola Inc., three from Openwave Systems Inc. and two from Palm Inc.) were transferred to HTC on September 1st of this year, giving the prolific Taiwanese manufacturer more wiggle room to fight Apple in court. Don’t think that Google is doing this out of the kindness of their heart however – one of the patents in the ITC complaint pertains to a real-time API which is a core component of Android. Needless to say, there’s a lot riding in this case than just HTC’s ability to make Android devices. Losing to Apple here means that it sets a dangerous precedent for Google, which you can bet Apple’s lawyers are going to capitalize on. The most obvious question is this: will Google be doing this for its other licensees, namely Samsung, under assault by Apple?