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The judge who oversaw Oracle's lawsuit against Google said Monday that the search giant "has failed to comply" with a 7 August order to provide the names of parties whose commentary on the suit may have been influenced by money.
Last week, Google said it had not directly paid anyone to comment on the case, which centred on alleged Java patent and copyright violations in the Android mobile OS.
However, given factors such as the prevalence of online publishing tools, "any number" of individuals or institutions with "indirect or attenuated" financial ties to Google may have written about the case, according to the company.
The August 7 order was not limited to authors “paid . . . to report or comment” or to “quid pro quo” situations. Rather, the order was designed to bring to light authors whose statements about the issues in the case might have been influenced by the receipt of money from Google or Oracle. For example, Oracle has disclosed that it retained a blogger as a consultant. Even though the payment was for consulting work, the payment might have influenced the blogger’s reports on issues in the civil action. Just as a treatise on the law may influence the courts, public commentary that purports to be independent may have an influence on the courts and/or their staff if only in subtle ways. If a treatise author or blogger is paid by a litigant, should not that relationship be known?
As ordered by the court, Google has submitted a new and longer list of bloggers and other commentators who have written about its ongoing patent litigation with Oracle, even as it continues to insist that it has never paid anyone to report or comment on the case.