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Google's appeal to remove Lindholm email from Android lawsuit is denied

Oracle scores a minor victory
Tue Feb 07 2012, 17:24

ADVERTISING BROKER Google has lost its appeal to have an email sent by one of its engineers excluded from Oracle's Java patents lawsuit against Android.

Google and Oracle have been fighting a long and bitter patent dispute over Android for over 18 months and one of the most notable pieces of evidence has been an email sent by a Google engineer named Tim Lindholm. Google has tried to get the Lindholm email excluded from trial on grounds of attorney-client privilege, but yesterday the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington denied Google's request.

Oracle has argued the Lindholm email shows that Google had knowledge of possible Java patent infringements in the Android operating system, however that might not be the case. The three judge panel wrote, "The e-mail does not evidence any sort of infringement or invalidity analysis", which tends to suggest that its denial of the appeal is not the end of the world for Google.

The Lindholm email suggests that Google wanted to look at alternatives to Java for its Android and Chrome operating systems. The argument follows, why would Google look for alternatives unless it felt compelled to do so?

According to Groklaw, Google's biggest mistake was to have a highly rated engineer - not legal counsel - check out the legal situation of using Java and look for alternatives. "Clearly, Google fell far short of that standard in having management, rather than legal counsel, request action by Lindholm, by not documenting the legal question being addressed, by focusing the email on business issues, and by directing the contents of the email to non-legal counsel," opined law professor Mark Webbink at the highly regarded legal analysis web site.

Google's mistakes didn't stop there, as the firm claims it only disclosed the Lindholm email to Oracle in error. How costly those mistakes might prove to be, or not, is likely to be decided at trial later this year. µ


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