John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple: Google Is Not a “Friend of the Court” in Samsung Case

android_apple_shoveIn Apple’s sprawling legal battle with Samsung, Google is hardly an impartial party. It’s the author of the Android mobile operating system that the South Korean conglomerate has used to capture about one third of the global smartphone market. So for it to tender an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” brief on Samsung’s behalf and urge the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals to toss Apple’s request for a sales ban on some Samsung devices could be viewed as questionable.

Apple certainly views it that way.

On Wednesday the company filed a brief opposing Google’s participation in a joint amicus brief submitted earlier in the week by HTC, Red Hat, SAP and Rackspace. That brief argued, essentially, that highly complex devices like smartphones shouldn’t be subject to sales bans because they use “trivial patented features.” In opposing it, Apple takes no issue with that argument or with the intentions of HTC, SAP, Red Hat or Rackspace in submitting it. But it objects to Google acting as lead party on a brief in a case in which it has an obvious interest.

“Google is the developer of the Android operating system running on the Samsung smartphones that Apple seeks to enjoin in this case,” Apple wrote in its opposition. “That interest conflicts with the traditional role of an amicus as an impartial friend of the court — not an adversary party in interest in the litigation.”

Apple’s view, then, is that Google is more co-defendant in this case than anything else, and it shouldn’t be allowed to masquerade as an impartial, concerned party.

And for the iPhone maker to flat out state that is worth noting. Because since these lawsuits first began, Apple has gone out of its way to avoid attacking Google head on.

Not that this is an attack; it certainly isn’t. But it is something of a challenge.

Apple’s implication is clear: If Google’s got something to say about the case, it should join it.

An interesting bit of messaging from Cupertino, which to date has been suing Android licensees as proxies through which to strike at Google.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald