According to reports by Recode, Google isn’t just helping Samsung by providing witnesses to help the South Korean corporation defend against Apple’s patent claims in their second U.S. trial; the company will also pay a share of Samsung’s legal costs and will share damages in case Apple wins.
A Google lawyer testified on Tuesday that the software maker, pursuant to its contractual obligations, agreed to take over defense of some of the claims in Apple’s current patent lawsuit as well as to indemnify Samsung should it lose on those claims.
Initially, Google agreed to “provide partial or full indemnity with regard to four patents” and defend against them, Google lawyer James Maccoun revealed in a deposition preceding the trial when he verified an email exchange between Samsung and Google on the matter.
“Maccoun’s testimony included references to a variety of emails between Google and Samsung between May and December of 2012 detailing Google’s willingness to take on Samsung’s legal defense. Apple also read into the record a Samsung response from September 2012 in which it said that it was not seeking indemnification from any party.” -Recode writes.
Two Apple patents were later dropped, with Google now having to defend and compensate Samsung in case of a loss for just two patents, the ‘414 and ‘959 patents that cover background synchronization and universal search, respectively. However, it’s not clear how much Google is paying for defense and how much it would pay Samsung in case Apple wins any damages on those patents.
Google has to help with Samsung’s defense partly because of the “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement” Samsung signed in order to be able to preload Google apps on its Android devices. However, Google is likely to offer compensation for its proprietary apps only, including Google Search or Gmail, that are found on Samsung’s devices, rather than on the open source parts of the code.
Samsung and Google have inked a partnership earlier this year, amidst an increased number of reports detailing a rather tense relationship between the two parties.
While Apple has not attacked Google directly in any of its patent-based trials against Android device makers, preferring to sue the companies that sell Android devices, the Search giant is clearly very interested and involved in defending Android.