Apple demands Android source code in Samsung patent spat

Apple demands Android source code in Samsung patent spat

Summary: In the name of "transparency," Apple has asked a judge to force Google to hand over elements of the Android OS source code.


In the next step of the Apple V. Samsung battle, Apple has asked a judge to make Google hand over documents related to the Android operating system.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal in San Jose, California, was told by the tech giant that Google is inappropriately withholding information related to the Android operating system. The iPad and iPhone maker argues that as Google's Android is used in all of the devices that allegedly infringe on patents and "provides much of the accused functionality," Google should be forced to hand over documents related to the operating system's source code.

According to Bloomberg, Apple lawyer Mark Lyon said that it is a "question of transparency," and "We have concerns that they’re [Google's] not doing a full search."

The issue is information discovery. California-based Apple believes that data relating to Android is key to the next stage of the patent dispute, which is set to begin this November. However, allowing Apple to see documents related to the operating system may lead to "future discovery that we don't think they’re entitled to," and "ideas about how to proceed that they wouldn't have had," according to Google and Samsung lawyer Matthew Warren.

In addition, as Google is the third-party in this case, the search engine giant is not entitled to the same legal protections as Apple or Samsung.

The original patent suit resulted in Apple receiving a damage award worth $1.05 billion, although this was later overturned by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh who believed the jury's decision was based on a faulty understanding of patent litigation and the issues involved. Damages were then lowered to $639.4 million, and the new trial is set for some of the contested products in November -- which may lower or increase the award further.

Topics: Apple, Samsung, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • It's Already Available

    Anybody can get the source. Just go to
    • Surprisingly they aren't't talking about that.

      I'd assume even apple are able navigate the Internet... Whether they use google to do it is another matter.. Maybe they like bing?
      • Obviously this is more than that

        Even google said releasing the documents would give Apple additional legal discovery and foresight they do not want to give them. Before Android, wasn't Schmidt one of the lead Apple iPhone engineers who went over to google taking all that development and strategy with him to help them start android? I'm sure these legal documents pertain to how deep the proprietary leak was.
        • He was just on Apple's board

          He was just a member of Apple's board and Jobs trusted him, but he turned around, stabbed Jobs in the back, and stole the iPhone ideas for Android.
          • Really?

            He was elected to Apple's BOD in 2006 and he resigned in 2009 due to what he perceived as a conflict of interest. And the statement released by Apple talks about how Schmidt recused himself more and more often which is not good for a BOD member. He resigned, there was no backstabbing.
          • He kept that conflict of interest for a while

            Enough for it to seem like he was leaking iPhone code and strategy, enough that iPad was hidden from him due to that...
            After playing both sides for so long, excusing yourself eventually due to conflict of interest doesn't mean there was none. I don't know why it's so gospel for android fans to try to pretend he didn't take iPhone code and strategy with him to help get android off the ground. That's business. How much he disclosed or took with him of his iPhone leadership to help google get android off the ground is debatable, but to pretend he didn't leak or take anything while he was playing both sides is silly.
          • I wonder why Jobs didn't force him off sooner, then

            and why Jobs didn't declare war on Android until almost the end of his life.
            John L. Ries
          • Probably because Android started off..

            as a Blackberry clone.

    • This assumes

      that Samsung didn't customize their version of the Operating System to their liking, which they're allowed to do.

      The Apache License, which is what Android's released under, states that anything that you had modified does not have to be released under the same license (although the parts which you DIDN'T modify must retain the same license).

      Meaning, Samsung can add or change features to the Operating System, not release the source code and get away with it as long as they otherwise complied with the Apache license.
  • What a Joke! lol.....

    They act like Android is a closed proprietary system like theirs. The whole reason this is so funny is Google has requested access to Apple's iOS source code and may get it. So it's tit for tat bold face request for something that's already available to anyone!!! lol..... but in reality what they are asking for is access to Google's own proprietary API's. Which have nothing to do with the Samsung lawsuit in the first place. If this judge grants Apple access to their proprietary source code (Google Maps for instance), then no doubt the judge will also have to allow Google access to Apple's proprietary source code!!!!
    • Why?

      Why in the world would Google need access to iOS source? Google is the one infringing on patents here. Maybe Google wants to copy and paste some Apple source code into Android. It wouldn't be the first time Android was the recipient of stolen code.
      • You are wrong on so many levels

        First, the case is against Samsung, not Google. As the article states, Google is a third part in this case. Second this case is about WHETHER Samsung infringed the patents. This is a separate one to the first dodgy one that is under appeal. One by one, Apple's patents are being declared invalid. The 'rectangle with round corners' never saw the light of day. The 'edge bounce' patent has been declared invalid since the first case. The 'swipe to unlock' is as good as dead too. Soon, there will be nothing left.

        As others have pointed out, there's nothing secret about Android's source code.
        • Obviously you're wrong

          Or this isn't about source code. Google is refusing to hand over documents because "allowing Apple to see documents related to the operating system may lead to "future discovery that we don't think they’re entitled to," and "ideas about how to proceed that they wouldn't have had".
          That means technically there are very relevant documents to this case they do not want to release for their own bias.
        • But the infringements are Google's

          But where are the infringements originating? Last I checked it was the Android operating system, which is Google's product, right? :-) And if all the requested information is publicly available, why is Google putting up a fight? Sumsung is just being sued because they are the biggest seller of products based on a patent infringing operating system. When will Google and Samsung get the message that stealing is wrong???
          • I think it's OK to copy and mimic to some degree

            It can't be all one sided though. Google (via Motorola) gets to sue and shake everyone and their cousin down for a patent portfolio, but when Apple does it it's wrong? I think too many of these big companies think they own innovation and information, google included. What rubs me is the way many android fans have to pretend google doesn't do it. Apple users already pay a royalty passed on by Apple to Motorola just to use 3G don't they? All those chips have royalty or "copyright fees" don't they, even if Motorola/Google does nothing to produce them. Quit charging people these hardware royalties and I'd say they can take all the Apple code and UI strategy they want. Of course it's not my patents or royalties, but they all play shakedown.
          • Actually....

            the iOS source code could be infringing on Linux directly, which is what both iOS and Android are based off of.

            Android gets around this by releasing their source code (per the terms of the Linux license), I am not sure how iOS gets around this, unless they are basing it off of Unix and not Linux. So, it would make sense that Google would want to see the iOS source code to make sure it's not violating Linux directly, which could in turn be argued that it violates Android indirectly.
          • iOS is based on OSX...

            which is not based on Linux, but on UNIX.
          • iOS built on Linux?

            Did you seriously just say that iOS was based on Linux? LOL. Go read up on your history, kid!
          • You've clearly been brainwashed..

            There's absolutely no doubt in your mind is there? Google have violated; Google have stolen, everybody steals Apples IP, that's all I'm hearing from you.

            Open your eyes and accept that Apple used other IP and ideas to get IOS up and running. Then accept that maybe they aren't as squeaky clean as you suggest.

            I'm not anti-Apple. I have ipads, iphones, apple tv... but there whole attitude/hypocrisy to IP is disgusting.
          • Apple isn't asking for public information

            Otherwise the judge could point them to and be done with it.

            Apple is looking to go on a fishing trip without actually naming Google as a defendant or specifically naming Android in their lawsuit, because that would give Google legal rights and actions.

            Looking at how badly Apple is losing this case in the rest of the world and how quickly their patents in this case are being declared invalid the judge should tell Apple to get stuffed.

            The last thing the courts need is more jackhattery being added to this case. Apple either needs to file suit directly against Google or go home.