Judge Demands Google Disclose Who It Paid To Write About Oracle Case

By Joseph Mandour on August 21, 2012

Lawyer California – A California federal judge told Google Inc. on Monday that the company had not adequately complied with his order to disclose the identities of any bloggers, journalists, authors or others who received money from Google while writing about its major patent infringement war with Oracle Corp.

Judge William Alsup, who is presiding over the Google-Oracle patent case, remonstrated Google for not fulfilling its obligations, and gave it until Friday at noon to turn over the names.

On August 7 Judge Alsup originally ordered Google and Oracle to each file a statement identifying all authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have reported or commented on any issues in the case and who have received money from the companies or their counsel during the pendency of the action.

“Although proceedings in this matter are almost over, they are not fully over yet and, in any event, the disclosure required by this order would be of use on appeal or on any remand to make clear whether any treatise, article, commentary or analysis on the issues posed by this case are possibly influenced by financial relationships to the parties or counsel,” Judge Alsup said at the time.

The August 7 order was not limited to authors “paid . . . to report or comment” or to “quid pro quo” situations, but was designed to bring to light authors whose statements about the issues in the case might have been influenced by the receipt of money from Google or Oracle, Judge Alsup said Monday.

Oracle has disclosed that it retained a blogger as a consultant, the judge noted. Even though the payment was for consulting work, the payment might have influenced the blogger’s reports on issues in the civil action, he said.

“Just as a treatise on the law may influence the courts, public commentary that purports to be independent may have an influence on the courts and/or their staff if only in subtle ways,” Judge Alsup said. “If a treatise author or blogger is paid by a litigant, should not that relationship be known?”

Google has suggested that it has paid so many commenters that it will be impossible to list them all, according to the judge.

“Please simply do your best but the impossible is not required,” he said. “Oracle managed to do it. Google can do it too by listing all commenters known by Google to have received payments as consultants, contractors, vendors, or employees.”

Oracle and Google have been feuding since 2010 over whether Google’s Android mobile operating system infringes its patents for the Java programming language.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement