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A copyright dispute between Oracle and Google was resolved in May by a federal jury, which found that Google’s Android operating system didn’t infringe copyrighted code owned by Oracle.
A post-trial skirmish over once-confidential Google information is heating up, though, with Google asking for sanctions against one of Oracle’s lead attorneys.
Now, Google says (PDF) it should get additional fees because Oracle attorney Annette Hurst disclosed Android revenue and profit figures in open court.
She also revealed that Google paid $1 billion to be the default search bar on Apple’s iPhone.
Those figures should have stayed confidential, say Google lawyers, but once a Bloomberg reporter got hold of a transcript of the hearing, they became headline news.
Yesterday, Oracle filed court papers (PDF) responding to the accusations. Oracle points out that Hurst’s statements were made “in response to probing questions from Magistrate Judge Ryu,” and were an “on-the-fly rebuttal of mischaracterizations made by Google’s counsel.” The statements didn’t violate the protective order, Oracle argues, and they fall short of the legal requirements for contempt.
“Sanctions… require ‘extreme circumstances’ and a level of bad faith and willfulness that is not present here,” states Oracle in its response.
The statements came up during a January 14 hearing over discovery issues, in which Oracle was trying to compel Google to hand over more data, including revenue share data.
Google lawyer Robert Van Nest said that the information had already been provided in a deposition. Hurst pulled up the relevant transcript on a laptop in court and sought to explain to the judge that the witness in question “had limited his testimony to what the Google revenue-share percentage with Apple had been ‘at one point in time.'”
“It was not effective or appropriate to argue about who was right about the contents of the deposition transcript when it could be readily verified,” Oracle lawyers explain in their brief. “Ms. Hurst read the transcript to the Court in the heat of an argument to put to rest the dispute about the deposition and did not think to censor her response.”
A decision on the matter is still at least several weeks away.
Google has 10 days to respond to the just-filed brief, and the companies are scheduled to argue the matter in court on September 22.
The statements from the January 14 hearing weren’t immediately reported.
A transcript was made public on January 20, and Google quickly asked to redact and seal the transcript.
It was removed from public view on the afternoon of January 21—a few hours after Bloomberg News published a story based on its contents.
Google is requesting attorneys’ fees and costs required to produce its motion for contempt as well as the filings “that were necessary to reclaim protection of the confidential information.” Its brief cites eight motions in all for which it wants to be reimbursed.
The company also “leaves to the Court consideration of other remedies or relief that may be appropriate given the current status of this action.”