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Greed may be good, but it doesn't matter to judge

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 9:11am
Dan Levine, Reuters

(Reuters) - Greed does not matter when it comes to the legal battle of two Silicon Valley icons, a federal judge told jurors who are hearing the lawsuit Oracle filed against Google.

"There has been a suggestion made that greed is at work here," U.S. District Judge William Alsup said on Friday. "That doesn't matter."

His remarks served as a caution to the seven women and five men who are expected to begin their deliberations on Oracle's copyright claims next week.

Oracle is suing Google in federal court claiming the search engine giant violated its intellectual property rights to the Java programming language and is seeking roughly $1 billion in copyright damages.

The judge explained that the motives of both sides in pre-trial negotiations are irrelevant to their verdict.

Oracle contends that some of the platform Google's Android runs on, Java, violates its intellectual property. Google says it does not violate Oracle's patents and that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java, an "open-source," or publicly available, software language.

Attorneys for Google have suggested that Oracle only filed a lawsuit after it decided it would not try to develop a smartphone of its own. But Oracle's final witness, its president and chief financial officer disputed that idea.

"That couldn't be further from the truth," Safra Catz testified.

The trial, expected to last at least eight weeks, has been divided into three phases: copyright liability, patent claims, and damages.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Oracle America, Inc v. Google Inc, 10-3561.

(Reporting By Dan Levine; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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