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Google has deep pockets to help Samsung in lawsuit with Apple

There are mixed interpretations of Google’s recently revealed pledge to pay some of Samsung’s costs in its legal battle with Apple

Attorneys and other observers of the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung are still digesting evidence this week that showed Google was willing to pay of Samsung’s legal costs in the patent lawsuit brought by Apple.

During testimony in a San Jose, Calif., courtroom, James Maccoun, a Google attorney, confirmed emails sent between Google and Samsung that said Google would "defend and indemnify" Samsung. This included Google paying some legal costs and possible damages if Samsung loses a case, news reports said.

"I understand that Google is defending Samsung and that this is reflected by emails," Maccoun said in a videotaped deposition.

The testimony is important because Samsung includes Google apps on its Galaxy phones, and Samsung has been trying to distance itself from Google – maker of the Android operating system used by Samsung and other companies – during the trial now underway.

There is conflicting interpretation of this agreement between the two companies. Some suggest it was an almost a hidden arrangement, while others say Google’s practice was well known to the public before this case.

CNET reported that Google has Mobile Application Distribution Agreements with all Android vendors, including Samsung, “and it has providing funding, technical support, and other assistance to partners facing lawsuits.”

“Google played a very notable role in HTC's recent case versus Nokia, helping HTC with its defense before HTC and Nokia ultimately settled,” CNET added.

On the other hand, TechEye reported, “the case between Apple and Samsung has always been a proxy war between Google and Apple.” Apple has basically chosen not to fight Google directly in court, but instead go after the manufacturers that use Google products.

Still, Time reported this week that, “New evidence revealed during the Samsung-Apple trial illustrate that Google is in fact a direct player in the conflict.”

As far as the current trial, Apple claims Samsung infringed on five of its patents for the iPhone, and wants about $2.2 billion. Samsung wants over $6 million from Apple for infringing two of its patents. But Apple denies its technology infringes on Samsung patents. And Samsung has defended itself against Apple’s allegations, at times relying on Google executives to provide a defense.

The jury could start deliberations on April 21.

Looking ahead, William R. Trueba, Jr., a Miami attorney specializing in intellectual property cases, told InsideCounsel recently there could be additional litigation between Apple and Samsung over additional patents in dispute – unless the two sides can reach a resolution, such as agreeing to a licensing agreement.

 

Further reading:

Apple-Samsung patent dispute trial continues

Apple/Samsung feud delves into the origins of touchscreen patents

Will U.S. patent reform take place this spring or continue to be delayed?

 
 
 

Contributing Author

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein is a veteran writer and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he has won several...

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