Google Inc. (GOOG:US) was ordered by a judge to reveal how it’s searching for internal documents related to its Android operating system sought by Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) in a patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal in San Jose, California, ordered Google within two days to disclose what terms it’s using to find documents Apple has requested in pretrial information sharing, and to tell Apple which Google employees those documents came from. Google had argued the collection of information would be too burdensome.
“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,” Grewal wrote in his order.
Apple seeks the information as part of its second patent case against Samsung in the same court, arguing that Google’s Android is used in all of Samsung’s allegedly infringing products and “provides much of the accused functionality” in Apple’s claims, according to a court filing.
The second case covers technology in newer smartphones made by both companies, including its iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III. The suit follows a previous case in which a jury awarded Cupertino, California-based Apple $1.05 billion in damages, finding Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung infringed six of the iPhone maker’s mobile-device patents.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, correcting what she said was the jury’s error, lowered the damages total to $639.4 million and ordered a new damages trial in November for some of the products at issue in that case. In the second case, Koh last month narrowed the lawsuit so that each side can claim the other infringed no more than five patents and 10 products.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, argued that as a third party to the case, it isn’t obligated by the legal rules Apple and Samsung must abide by.
“Third party status does not confer a right to obfuscation or obstinacy,” Grewal wrote in his ruling, ordering Google to produce the information to Apple within 48 hours of today’s order. The information will “aid in uncovering the sufficiency of Google’s production and serves greater purposes of transparency in discovery,” Grewal wrote.
A Google representative didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the ruling.
The earlier case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-1846, and the second case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-cv-630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
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