IP Litigation: Are Oracle and Google Paying for Good Press?

U.S. District Judge William Alsup continues to be a trailblazer when it comes to intellectual property litigation. He has asked Google and Oracle to supply a list of all of the journalists and bloggers on their payrolls.

Previously, a jury concluded that Google’s Android system did not infringe upon Oracle’s patents. In the copyright phase of the litigation, Judge Alsup ruled that Oracle could not apply copyright protection to Java APIs.

Judge Alsup’s latest order injects a new element to the widely followed case. It suggests that at least some of the press coverage may have been tainted.

“The court is concerned that the parties and/or counsel herein may have retained or paid print or Internet authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have and/or may publish comments on the issues in the case,” Alsup wrote in order.

The judge indicated that the information “would be of use on appeal” and could “make clear whether any treatise, article, commentary or analysis on the issues posed by this case are possibly influenced by financial relationships to the parties or counsel.”

Both Google and Oracle have indicted that they will comply with the order, although it is still unclear what Judge Alsup plans to do with the information. I will provide updates as they become available, so please stay tuned.

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