Google And Oracle Argue In Court Over Chrome OS & Costs

In the Oracle case against Google, Oracle have told a federal court today that their lost copyright trial case against Google should be dismissed because they were denied evidence. In short, Oracle's attorney, Annette Hurst, told the court that the launch of the Google Play Store for the Chromebook platform was "...a game changer... the whole foundation for their case is gone. [Android] isn't 'transformative;' it's on desktops and laptops." Oracle believe that the Google Play Store running on the Chrome OS dramatically increases the amount of harm Oracle have experienced and that Google's plans should have been disclosed. One of Google's case foundations is that Android, built for smartphones and used on tablets too, used Java APIs for "fair use" and one of these pointers was that the Android platform did not compete with Java SE, used on desktop and laptop computers.

Google's attorney, Christa Anderson, responded by explaining that Oracle asked for information about the App Runtime for the Chrome platform (ARC) during the discovery phase of the trial. Google provided the information and therefore Oracle knew that Google was working on porting Android applications to the Chromebook platform. Oracle was at liberty to use this argument at any point during the trial but did not. Christa explained that "No party had a duty to supplement discovery with matters beyond the scope of trial... Our answers were appropriate and complete." Google was considering an update to the Chrome platform to be called ARC+ but this was not available in October during the discovery phase of the trial. Furthermore, even today the App Runtime for Chrome is still in a pre-release stage: it is not ready for the wider market.

US District Judge William Alsup decided to take Annette's comments under submission and will later rule by writing, but did tell the Google attorney, "if I had been in your position, I would have disclosed." From the discussion, Google believe that Oracle had the information and decided not to use it, whereas Oracle believe Google did not explain their business plan for running Android applications on the Chrome OS platform. Unfortunately for Oracle, their attorneys have a track history of disclosing sensitive information about Google to the wider world.

Although the discussions between the two attorneys was predominantly concerned with Google running Android applications on the Chrome OS platform, the discussion also included observations about Google presenting relatively little information during the trial. Oracle argued that there should be a new trial because of this and Nathan Shaffer, Oracle attorney, explained that Google "was building a market replacement for Java-based 'phones," which would not be covered by fair use - and that Google copied the Java APIs in order to capture developers to the new platform. However, Judge Alsup did not agree with this statement and reminded Oracle that they had all of Google's emails and that a jury would have sided with Oracle if they felt this way. The Judge also told Oracle that enough evidence was submitted and presented but that the jury sided against them.

The final discussion point between the two sides was that of Google requesting their $3.9 million bill be paid by Oracle, which Oracle were arguing. This $3.9 million is only for the production of documents and fees for court-ordered experts but excludes lawyer fees and their own internal experts. However, Judge Alsup told both sides to talk about the costs between themselves and agree. To Google's attorney he said: "Failing that, I may deny everything you want, because of greed and overreaching." It appears that the Oracle case against Google, which was started in 2012, is set to rumble on.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.