Judge orders Google to hand over search documents in Samsung patent case

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Google on Thursday was ordered to acquiesce to Apple's request for information regarding what methods the search giant is using to sift through internal documents related to Android, with the resulting data being part of a second U.S. patent infringement suit against Samsung.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal issued the order compelling Google to reveal how it is selecting documents to furnish as part of the discovery process in the so-called "Galaxy Nexus" patent case, reports Bloomberg.

“The court cannot help but note the irony that Google, a pioneer in searching the Internet, is arguing that it would be unduly burdened by producing a list of how it searched its own files,” Judge Grewal wrote in the order.

Google now has two days in which to provide the requested information, which include search terms used to find documents related to the case, as well as the employees from whom the documents originated. Apple asked for the documents as the Samsung products in suit all use the Android mobile operating system, and information related to the OS is vital to the proceedings.

Previously, Google argued that furnishing the information would be too burdensome, and noted that it was a third party to the ongoing case. Judge Grewal disagreed, saying, "Third party status does not confer a right to obfuscation or obstinacy.”

The suit is Apple's second swing at Samsung in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and is separate from the two companies' high profile jury trial which ended in a $1.05 billion verdict. The landmark Apple v. Samsung case is still in post-trial proceedings, the most recent news being a Nov. 12 trial date set by presiding Judge Lucy Koh. The new trial is seeks to recalculate the $450.5 million in damages Judge Koh vacated in March due to uncertainty over the jury's findings regarding 14 Samsung devices.