Google CEO Larry Page faces 2hr Oracle grilling in patent case

Jul 22, 2011
7
Google CEO Larry Page faces 2hr Oracle grilling in patent case

Google CEO Larry Page will face a two hour grilling in the Oracle patent infringement suit, after the judge presiding the case agreed that the exec should answer questions as to whether Android willfully oversteps into Oracle's intellectual property. Google's attorneys were warned that the search giant would definitely be looking at paying damages "probably in the millions, maybe in the billion," FOSSPatents reports, though also saved some scorn for Oracle, which was scolded that "this [court] is not a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle Corp."

"Oracle may depose Mr. Page for a maximum of two hours, excluding breaks, solely on topics relevant to the willfulness of Defendant's alleged patent infringement, and the value of Android to Defendant" Court report

The data that Page will take the stand is unclear, but it's likely he'll be questioned on a particularly blunt internal email one of Oracle's attorneys read in court yesterday. "What we've actually been asked to do by Larry and Sergey is to investigate what technology alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome," an unnamed Google executive wrote, IDG reports, summarizing that "we've been over a hundred of these and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java."

Judge William H. Alsup agreed that it appeared Google had directly infringed on Oracle's patents, though also suggested that both companies were "asking for the moon" and "should be more reasonable." The extent of how "reasonable" any settlement will be, and how much it will impact Google's bottom line and, indeed, the potential of a permanent injunction, is yet to be decided.

"Oracle claims that Mr. Page participated in Google's negotiations with Sun for a Java license. Even though Google asserts that Mr. Page was not personally at the bargaining table, Google admits that Mr. Page received briefings on the negotiations. Given the importance of Android to Google's business, it is highly likely that Mr. Page participated in decision-making regarding the licensing negotiations. Therefore, Plaintiff also has satisfied the court that Mr. Page likely 'has unique first-hand, non-repetitive knowledge of facts at issue in the case' and that Plaintiff 'has exhausted other less intrusive discovery methods' to obtain the information it seeks in its proposed deposition." Court report

Google argues that the mobile advertising revenues from Android devices should not be included in the royalties used to calculate Oracle's damages payout. However, the judge does not agree. Oracle was originally looking for around $2.6bn, though has since suggested that, since Android has an impact on Google's non-mobile business, that figure should increase to take the so-called "network effects" theory.


Must Read Bits & Bytes