Judge Orders Google to Go Back to the Drawing Board

U.S. Judge William Alsup has ordered Google to try again, after concluding that its response to the court’s order to disclose journalists on its payrolls was insufficient. This is the latest development in the ongoing patent litigation between tech giants Oracle and Google.

Alsup, known for his unorthodox approach, expressed concern 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.” He further indicated that the information “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.”

Oracle did supply a list, revealing that it has a paid consulting deal with Florian Mueller of FOSSPatents. Mueller had been covering the trial. Google, however, responded that it could not possibly provide a list, but stated that it had not hired anyone “to report or comment on any issues in this case” or entered into a “quid pro quo” arrangement for preferential treatment in the media or online.

Alsup, however, was not satisfied with the response. “In the court’s view, Google has failed to comply with the August 7 order,” he wrote. “Google suggests that it has paid so many commenters that it will be impossible to list them all. Please simply do your best but the impossible is not required. Oracle managed to do it.”

In sending Google back to the drawing board, Alsup narrowed the information he is seeking to “all commenters known by Google to have received payments as consultants, contractors, vendors, or employees.”

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