Google, Samsung have deal for compensationGoogle’s stake in the outcome of a $2 billion trial over smartphones using its Android operating system was revealed by testimony that the company indemnified Samsung Electronics against some of Apple’s patent claims.
The videotaped testimony of a Google patent lawyer describing terms of the search engine company’s agreement with Samsung was played for jurors yesterday immediately after Apple’s lawyer read aloud a statement from Samsung saying it wasn’t seeking indemnification from any third party.
Google’s Android operating system is used to run Samsung smartphones and most of Apple’s claims in its second U.S. trial against the Korea-based maker of Galaxy phones relate to Android functions. Google has a strong financial interest in helping Samsung defeat Apple at trial beyond its obligation to pay. An Apple victory would allow the iPhone maker to seek a court order barring U.S. sales of Samsung phones equipped with Android features.
While Google isn’t a defendant in the case, Samsung’s lawyer characterized the case in his opening argument as “an attack on Android.” Samsung has called several of the Mountain View, California-based company’s engineers to argue that it didn’t need to copy Apple to equip its phones with innovative technology.
Going into trial last month, the world’s top two smartphone makers already had spent hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees in battles across four continents to dominate a market that was valued at $338.2 billion last year.
Samsung had 31 percent of industry revenue, compared with 15 percent for Apple, whose share of the market has shrunk as the touch-screen interface has become commonplace and Samsung, LG Electronics and Lenovo Group have introduced lower- cost alternatives.
Apple’s presentation of Google attorney James Maccoun’s testimony, with the dates and details he provided about a “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement” between Google and Samsung, was intended to show the jury that Samsung hasn’t been forthcoming about Google’s behind-the-scenes role.
“This is an offer that Google made,” Maccoun testified when asked about indemnification. “I have no reason to believe that has changed.”
Maccoun testified about e-mail discussions, as early as April 2012, concerning the companies’ agreement, five months before Samsung issued its statement denying that it sought indemnification.
The Google lawyer acknowledged that Samsung is indemnified against claims pertaining to at least two of the five patents at issue in the trial, with Google designated “to control the litigation and defense” of those claims. The questioning of Maccoun didn’t reveal how much Google will pay, or if it has paid for any of the litigation to date.
Adam Yates, a spokesman for Samsung, Matt Kallman, a spokesman for Google, and Colin Johnson, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment on the testimony.
Apple, which was awarded $930 million in damages after the companies’ first U.S. trial two years ago, this time is demanding as much as $40 for each of more than 37 million Samsung devices it says are infringing patents.
Apple claims that 10 Samsung products, including the Galaxy S3, infringe five patents covering a range of user-interface designs for the iOS software that powers iPhones and iPads, including features like the slide-to-unlock function, automatic spelling corrections, and the ability for a user to make a call by clicking on a phone number within a web page or email instead of having to dial it separately.
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