Apple wants to take a peek inside Android source code

Android (Jelly Bean statue in front yard 001)

Apple’s proxy fight against Google and its Android platform has just taken an interesting turn as the iPhone maker asked the court to force Google into turning over Android’s source code. The request is part of Apple’s ongoing California patent fight against Samsung. Bloomberg reports today Apple is dissatisfied with Google’s handling of the request.

According to Apple’s lawyers, the search giant in “improperly withholding information” related to Android’s source code documentation. Google’s mobile operating system, Apple argues, “provides much of the accused functionality” and argues the Google platform is used in all of Samsung’s allegedly infringing products…

Bloomberg has the story:

Apple Inc., taking its patent fight to Google Inc. through its infringement litigation against Samsung Electronics Co., is asking a judge to force Google to turn over documents related to its Android operating system.

Apple told U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal in San Jose, California, that Google is improperly withholding information about what terms it’s using to find the documents Apple has requested in pretrial information sharing.

A lawyer for Apple argued that it’s a “question of transparency,” arguing his client has “concerns that they’re not doing a full search” for the requested documents.

Google is a third-party to the case.

A lawyer for Google – who also happens to represent Samsung – responded that Apple made a “strategic decision” in filing its case “to keep Google off the complaint.”

As a third-party to the case, Warren said, Google doesn’t have the same legal rights that Apple and Samsung have, in particular with respect to “reciprocal discovery.” Agreeing to Apple’s request, Google’s lawyer said, would give the iPhone maker “ideas about how to proceed that they wouldn’t have had.”

Back in November 2011, Samsung demanded that Apple hand over the iPhone 4S firmware source code. along with the dark details of Apple’s iPhone subsidy agreements with Australian carriers.

A year later, Google filed a motion complaining that Apple was withholding the iOS 6 source code, arguing Apple’s stubbornness prevented Google from performing some important infringement analysis.

And just this January, Samsung similarly put putting pressure on Apple to reveal the iOS 6 source code to a judge in South Korea. Apple’s lawyers dismisses Samsung’s request as “insane” and argued the Galaxy maker was trying to force Apple into revealing its “most important data”.

And the plot thickens.