Google’s Android operating system has proven to be a big hit, and that’s good news for Google.

But it has also been good news for companies like Microsoft, which are profiting and seeking to profit from patents that Android may be infringing.

Now British Telecom has joined the Android patent litigation and licensing circus.

Last week, the telecom giant filed a lawsuit in the United States alleging that Android infringes six patents it owns. The patents, BT believes, cover various Google products which are integrated into Android, including the Android Market, Google Music, Google Maps, Google Search and Google Places, amongst others.

Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents explains that what BT is looking for is damages.

BT seeks damages – even triple damages for willful and deliberate infringement – as well as an injunction. The complaint suggests that Google refused to pay. The second sentence of paragraph 21 states that “BT brings this action to recover the just compensation it is owed and to prevent Google from continuing to benefit from BT’s ivnentions without authorisation”.

Do BT’s claims have merit? That’s not yet clear, but needless to say, a patent lawsuit filed by a formidable opponent is the last thing Google needs.

It raises the question – will Google ever be able to put Android-related patent litigation to bed?

Without substantive patent reform, it appears the answer may be ‘no’. If that proves to be true, Google may increasingly find itself contemplating the possibility that Android is both a hotcake and a hot potato.