Two weeks ago, the code-loving Judge Alsup issued a strange order: even though the jury trial had been completed in the Google v. Oracle case about Android programming, the companies had to disclose anybody they were paying that was providing commentary on the case — namely, tech bloggers. The answers are in, and they’re not particularly revelatory.
Google did not name any individuals, stating that it had neither paid anyone nor engaged in “quid pro quo” barters for commentary. It did attach documents laying out certain think tanks and other institutions that it helped fund — which is kind of a punt. Google claimed that it would be “difficult or perhaps impossible” to name all the contracts and vendors that it has employed since the trial started, but that none of them were contracted specifically to provide commentary, and therefore were out of the judge’s purview.
Oracle was less minimalist in its response. It copped to compensating Florian Mueller, a well-known consultant who writes on patent law — not always in ways favorable to Oracle — along with naming a Stanford professor with connections to Oracle, though he has not commented on the lawsuit. Oracle also took a dig at Google in its filiing, attaching news stories and calling out the head of a trade group has having been supported by Google.
So what now? Alsup’s order was widely constrewed to be a fishing expedition, digging for information that might have influenced the jury, which has already decided largely against Oracle. If that’s the case, not much came up in the extremely wide net, and whatever Alsup was looking for may well remain a mystery.
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