Google has accused Microsoft of leaking “highly confidential source code” to an expert witness in a Motorola lawsuit, and has demanded that the USITC block the witness from taking the stand. According to Google’s motion for sanctions [pdf link], Microsoft informed Dr Robert Stevenson of Google secrets without first clearing that exposure with the search giant, as per terms the two companies had agreed on. Microsoft is looking to use Dr Stevenson’s expert testimony in its patent case against Motorola, alleging that the company’s Android handsets infringe Microsoft technologies.
“The protective order governing confidentiality in this investigation explicitly requires that Microsoft disclose to Google any consultant or expert seeking access to Google confidential business information or highly confidential source code before [Google’s emphasis] allowing a consultant or expert to review such information so that Google has an opportunity to object prior to disclosure” Google
Google had provided internal information to Microsoft as part of an earlier subpoena, having negotiated an agreement that its rival would have to “independently review and approve outside experts and consultants” prior to them having access. Now, Google claims that Microsoft ignored that agreement and “does not dispute” having shown Dr Stevenson the source code, with the search company’s legal team only realizing the access had already been granted when Microsoft applied for permission to use source code printouts as part of the deposition.
As well as preventing the witness from testifying, Google also wants the ITC to poke Microsoft into providing written confirmation that it hasn’t violated any other agreements in a similar manner. It also requests that a decision to block testimony should be arrived at on or before August 15, given the closeness to the evidentiary hearing.
The ITC agreed to investigate Microsoft’s complaints regarding Motorola back in November last year. Microsoft alleges that Motorola’s Android range infringes on technologies including synchronization of contacts, calendars, and email; how scheduled emails are handled; and how applications are notified of changes in signal strength and battery power.