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Google agreed to pick up tab for some Samsung legal fees, take on liability in case of loss

Apple's '959 patent for universal search. | Source: USPTO

An agreement between Google and Samsung, revealed on Tuesday in the second California Apple v. Samsung patent trial, has the Internet search giant on the hook for legal fees and liability related to up to four Apple patents.

According to in-court reports from Re/code, a Google attorney James Maccoun presented testimony saying the company is contractually obliged to pay for the defense of certain patent claims made against Samsung.

In a taped deposition, Maccoun read emails outlining Google's Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) with Samsung. Aside from the financial aid, the numbers of which remain sealed, Google also agreed to take on responsibility for the same patents if Samsung ends up losing the case, meaning the Mountain View, Calif. company would indemnify the Korean company on those lost claims.

An account from The Verge added detail, noting Google agreed to back Samsung on two patent claims regarding universal search. In the current Apple v. Samsung trial, Apple is asserting one such property.

Specifically, Apple is asserting U.S. Patent No. 6,847,959 for a "Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system," which is still in play. Two other claims were pared from Apple's assertions in an effort to narrow the case for an early trial start date.

As noted by the San Jose Mercury News, the presentation of Maccoun's deposition was an attempt by Apple to counter Samsung's defense that its devices should not be singled out as the alleged infringing features were part of Google's Android operating system. In effect, Samsung has been using Google as a shield against Apple's patent infringement claims.