Services & Software

Oracle names bloggers, others it paid to comment on Google trial

A judge had directed the companies to come clean about who they were paying to comment and report on their copyright infringement lawsuit while it was being litigated.

Truth be told, it's a bit of a letdown but Oracle today revealed the extent of its financial relationship with "commentators" during its recently concluded court case with Google.

The court had issued an order earlier this month, instructing the companies to disclose the names of people commenting or reporting on the case who received money for their services. In a filing today (see below), Oracle said that it had put copyright specialist Florian Mueller on its payroll as a consultant. Mueller, who writes a popular blog called Foss Patents, had earlier disclosed his relationship with Oracle. It also said that Stanford professor Paul Goldstein provided counsel to Morrison & Foerster, an outside law firm contracted by Oracle. The company said that Goldstein has not commented on the lawsuit publicly.

Oracle also alleged that Google "maintains a network of direct and indirect 'influencers' to advance Google's intellectual property agenda." Oracle described this network as "extensive" and made up of "attorneys, lobbyists, trade associations, and bloggers."

"We didn't pay anybody to talk about the case," a Google representative said.

"Neither Google nor its counsel has paid an author, journalist, commentator, or blogger to report or comment on any issues in this case," Google said in its brief (also below). "And neither Google nor its counsel has been involved in any quid pro quo in exchange for coverage of, or articles about, the issues in this case."

At the same time, however, Google allowed that "individuals or organizations" with some financial connection might have offered their views on the case. It asked the court for further instructions, saying that it wanted to avoid "flooding the court with long lists of such individuals or organizations who might have written something about the case."

Oracle sued Google over patent violations involving the use of Java in Google's Android operating system. The Java patents in question had been owned by Sun Microsystems but were transferred to Oracle when Oracle bought Sun. Google reasserted time and again that Sun was a big supporter of Android, and that the programming language was free to use. Google prevailed in the case, leaving Oracle to consider an appeal.

12 08 17 Oracle Disclosures 2012.08.17 - Google Resp Re Aug 7 Order