In the latest spat between Samsung and Apple, Google was tapped by their largest OEM to help out. Many believed that would involve testimony from various Googlers, but emails introduced in court today note that Google offered more than that. Via deposition, a Google attorney admitted they helped shoulder the financial burden as well as provide testimony.
The emails in question are form 2012, wherein Google agreed to “defend and indemnify” Samsung against Apple’s latest claims. Google patent attorney James Maccoun said “I see [indemnify] as a general term relating to providing a defense against claims and then can mean other things depending on the outcome of litigation”.
In the same emails, Google agreed to help shoulder the financial cost of litigation, as well as any damages that may occur. That could be an effect of the “outcome of litigation” in google’s eyes, but it likely relates to another serious matter between Google and their various partners.
Google believes this financial “obligation” falls under their Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA). That’s the document that leaked earlier this year, and provides an outline of what Android OEMs are supposed to do should they want to release an “official” android handset with the Play Store involved. “In general, I seem to recall the strategic agreement [with Samsung] simply incorporated the provisions of the MADA” said Maccoun.
This trial is expected to have a ripple effect throughout Android, should Samsung be found liable for damages. Many of the offending patents involve software, which was culled by Samsung in part from Android proper. Suing Google may not end up lucrative for Apple, but a precedent for financial obligation may set the tone for future litigation.