Friday, July 29, 2011

Oracle to question Google

Oracle will get to questionGoogle co-founderLarry Page under terms set by a US judge presiding over a patent suit pitting the business software titan against the Internet giant. 

Oracle can depose Page "for a maximum of two hours, excluding breaks" regarding the value of Android and whether Google intentionally infringed on patents at issue, Judge Donna Ryu said in a written decision on Thursday. 

"(Page) reportedly made the decision to acquireAndroid Inc., and thereby develop and launch the platform that Oracle now contends infringes its patents and copyrights," Oracle lawyers argued in their request to the court. 

"Oracle believes that Mr Page's testimony will likely be relevant with respect to a number of other key issues in this case as well, including the value of the infringement to Google," the letter continued. 

Google has asked to depose its chief executive,Larry Ellison, in the case. 

Oracle is accusing Google's Android software of infringing on Java computer programming language patents held by Oracle stemming from its recent purchase of Java inventorSun Microsystems. 

Google has denied the patent infringement claims and said it believes mobile phone makers and other users of its open-source Android operating system are entitled to use the Java technology in dispute. 

Google opposed the bid to question Page and three other current or former executives in the final weeks of the discovery process, arguing that Oracle was "gnashing its teeth with an eleventh-hour attempt to cram" in more depositions. 

Ryu is also allowing Oracle to depose two of its other targets, Bob Lee and Tim Lindholm. 

Oracle this week complained to Ryu that Google is not providing answers to questions about the Mountain View, California-based company's non-mobile businesses. 

Oracle wants Google to reveal details such as total search volume broken down by keywords and the Web content it indexes. 

Google has resisted with the reasoning that those facts are not relevant to the case because Android powerssmartphones and tablet computers, according to Oracle. 

Google has maintained that Sun, before it was acquired by Oracle, had declared that Java would be open-source, allowing any software developer to use it, and released some of its source code in 2006 and 2007. 

Oracle completed its acquisition of Sun, a one-time Silicon Valley star, in January of 2010 and subsequently filed suit against Google. 

Google-backed Android software is used in an array of devices that have been gaining ground in the hotly competitive global smartphone and tablet markets. 

Google won a round in the pre-trial proceedings when US District Judge William Alsup rejected a bid by Oracle to use an expert witness's testimony who said damages in the case could be as much as $6.1 billion. 

Alsup ruled that the Boston University finance professor's report "overreached in multiple ways" by factoring in Google revenues that went beyond the Android mobile platform. 

"Each and every overreach compounding ever higher damages into the billions - evidently with the goal of seeing how much it could get away with," Alsup reasoned. 

Alsup gave Oracle a chance to enter a revised estimate of damages prior to the trial, which was tentatively slated to start in October.

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