Google had secret pact with Samsung over some Apple patent claims

Google took over the defense of some of Samsung's case and agreed to cover some costs

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

Google agreed to take over some of Samsung's defense against patent claims brought by Apple under a secret agreement reached in 2012, a federal court jury heard Tuesday.

The pact between Google and Samsung was revealed in a video-taped deposition played to the eight-person jury hearing Apple's patent infringement case against the Korean firm, in which the iPhone maker is seeking more than US$2 billion in damages.

In the video, Google counsel James Maccoun is shown a series of emails between Google and Samsung in which the agreement was hammered out.

In the emails, Google offers to indemnify Samsung against two Apple patents as they relate to the Android search box, and a third Apple patent as it relates to Google's Gmail app, according to Maccoun's testimony.

The indemnification meant Google would assume responsibility for Samsung's defense if Apple brought claims against the company over those patents. While details of the agreement weren't disclosed, indemnification typically also involves a party agreeing to cover costs and damages for that part of a trial.

The patents in question were U.S. 6,847,959 and 8,086,604, which related to the Android search box, and U.S. Patent 7,761,414, which related to the Gmail app.

Samsung had been arguing that some of Apple's claims should be disregarded by the jury because they related to software developed by Google. By playing the video, Apple was trying to show the jury that the companies had been working together to defend against those patents.

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