Google will help Samsung pay some fees in Apple lawsuit

by: Shawn IngramApril 22, 2014

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During testimony Tuesday a Google lawyer admitted that Google agreed to help defend Samsung against Apple in relation to certain patents involved in the ongoing lawsuit.

According to Re/code Google lawyer James Maccoun said during testimony that Google will offer full or partial indemnity in relation to four patents involved in the case. So, if Samsung has to pay for infringing those patents Google will pay at least part of the associated fees.

While Google agreed to help with four patents involved in the suit, only two of those patents remain active in the case: patents ‘414 and ‘959 which deal with background synchronization and universal search, respectively.

Google is obligated to help Samsung through the “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement” which lets Samsung include Google apps such as Gmail and the Play Store on its devices. Because of that agreement, it’s probable that Google is only helping Samsung when the aforementioned patents apply to Google apps like Gmail and the Search app. Google likely isn’t involved in the aspects of the case which apply more to the open source aspects of Android as Samsung is allowed to change that code as it sees fit.

Manufacturers aren’t allowed to change the code of Google apps, so if the patents apply to those apps it only makes sense that Google helps those manufacturers with any defense and indemnity.

While there is an argument to be made that Apple could cut out the middleman and sue Google over those patents directly, current patent law lets companies sue manufacturers who use software that infringe patents, even if they didn’t create that software. That plus the fact that Samsung makes money directly from Android devices make it the target of Apple’s lawsuits.

This isn’t the first time Google has gotten involved in court cases involving Android manufacturers. The company recently involved itself in the lawsuits between HTC and Nokia to be more involved with those patent disputes.

If the court rules in favor of Apple in the case Samsung could have to pay up to $2 billion in fees. Samsung, of course, argues that it doesn’t infringe on Apple’s patents, and that Apple’s patents aren’t even valid. Samsung also argued that, if it is found to have infringed the patents, it shouldn’t have to pay nearly the sum Apple is asking for.

Do you think Google should be doing more to help manufacturers in patent lawsuits, or is its current involvement good enough?

  • Franc012

    Google shouldn’t necessarily be doing more in court. They need to lobby hard against the patent office’s rubber stamp procedures. Apple is only doing what any corporation in its position would do. Legally stifle competition. They’d be stupid not to.

    • The-Sailor-Man


      Apple’s ass must be kicked hard. And this can be done only by US company in US. Google.

      Apple cleverly choose to attack Samsung instead of Google, because to have the support of the americans. (the other explanations are for the naive fools)

      • MadCowOnAStick

        …but there aren’t “Google fanboys,” only Apple fanboys ;-;

        |forever alone|

      • Andrew White

        Not only in the US but in Japan, the only 2 countries where Apple is on par with sales of Android devices. The rest of the planet is well and truly an Android one.
        So many of us watch US TV series and more recently the brilliant stuff emminating from Canada.
        The problem is perception. Rarely, actually never do you see any actors using anything but the iPhone. What comes across subliminally is…smarter, wealthier and more attractive people prefer Apple.
        Motorola (Google) must bid for at least equal access on set and get Android the exposure it so richly deserves.
        The Apple ‘issue’ needs to be addressed on multiple fronts.

        • Joshua Hill

          You need to watch closer in TV shows. There is a nice mix of iPhones and various Android flagships.

          • Andrew White

            I see Blackberry in West Wing and the U.S. version of House of Cards, but eveything else is iPhone.
            Give me 2 examples of an internationally popular TV series (not B grade US specific) where the main players use an android device.

          • Joshua Hill

            Vampire diaries, seasons 2 – 4 haven’t watched it in a year or two. Every main character has a 5″ android phone or Nokia phone. Can’t recall anyone using an IPhone in that series. I’m off to work an a public holiday :( so I’ll find another show for you when I get home.

            Edit: thought of another, House of Lies has a nice mix of IPhone and competitors.

          • Joshua Hill

            Ncis, D’nozo is always sporting a non IPhone.

            That’s 3 examples now. Can you give me 3 examples of shows that meet the same criteria you gave me and are IPhone only?

        • Joshua Hill

          Not only have you made an unsubstantiated fallacious statement about smartphones in TV but you are mistaken in your geography. Unfortunately, as an Android loving Australian in my country iPhone vs Android device ownership see saws a bit but in general you could say the market is evenly divided.

          I responded to your request/demand providing some examples to back up my statement. I’m still waiting for you to show me the same courtesy.

    • Roberto Tomás

      I think a basic problem in the US, besides patent law in general and patent law applied to software (we could go the way of nations like India that refuse to accept the validity of software patents), might be scope. That “current patent law lets companies sue manufacturers who use software that infringe patents, even if they didn’t create that software. ” I think that maybe limiting the scope of such an ability might help: such as, requiring that in order to sue a hardware company for using software that abuses a patent, the complainant must show that the defendant knew about the software, the patent, and the possibility of a collision when comparing those two, in order to provide sufficient evidence to go to court.

  • The-Sailor-Man

    “Do you think Google should be doing more to help manufacturers in patent lawsuits, or is its current involvement good enough?”

    Google are not “helping” anybody. Google are defending themselves. If Apple win this BS. That means that Apple win over Google.

  • DW Duck

    Google should put it’s foot down and start going after patten trolls

  • DarxideGarrison

    Fuck patent trolls and fuck Apple. I’m gonna take a page from Apple’s playbook and get my penis patented. Then I’ll file law suits against anyone else on Earth who has one for $5 each. Or we can all reach agreement where they keep theirs and I get $2 each time they use them!

  • Blargie

    Google is infact defending itself. Samsung most likely had the major of the market in Android. Google would be foolish not to rush to thier side. And not only that, someone has to defend basic patents. Like the pinch motion years ago, suit brought fourth by Apple. Trying to copyright a gesture. Ridiculous…. It’s like trying to claim the swinging of the hammer and fool hardy. It’s mainly a desperate attempt to quell a upcoming rival, that has repeatedly challenged then. I’m not a fan of Samsung and thier annoying tweaks, but Apple certainly shouldn’t be making these claims. (Some things Google had done in years past) Apple realizes they can’t continue with their hipster esk marketing strategy and now they have to contend with real competition. With Google in the mix, they have to resort to petty whining in the us market. Complaining that “it’s not fair.” Capitalism bitches, doesn’t matter what country they’re from. IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCT!!!!

  • Woodward

    Google and Samsung should have no problem coming up with the $2 billion they will owe Apple.

    • Roberto Tomás

      yea, if they would be found to owe it

  • Juan Carlos Palma

    Fuck apple

  • shitbox fangay

    Thats what crApple can do; buy another company’s patent, and if they have a patent on something on their own, its must be something silly or stupid like rounded corner, glass stairways, or iPad stand in apple store. And use those shitty patent to sue another company, in this case they choose samsung, why not Google?, because samsung appeared weaker in their eyes than google, Thats it.