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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

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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.

The indemnification pact appears to have stemmed from a mobile application development agreement between Google and Samsung.

Throughout the deposition video, which was filmed on Aug. 16 last year, Maccoun is seen reclining in his chair. His body language suggests he had little enthusiasm for being there.

The video was shown in the final moments of Apple's arguing its case against Samsung. Both sides were given 25 hours by Judge Lucy Koh and both are expected to use their time up Tuesday afternoon.

The court will sit again on Friday, when the lawyers are expected to argue legal points of the case away from the jury. The jury will be brought back for closing arguments, which are currently expected on Monday, April 28, and will begin its deliberations immediately afterward.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com



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