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Google loses exclusion of incriminating mail in Android suit

updated 03:40 pm EST, Mon February 6, 2012

Google denied appeal on mail shwoing patent issue

Google on Monday lost an appeal trying to keep an incriminating e-mail out of Oracle's lawsuit over Android patents and copyrights. The court rejected Google's view that engineer Tim Lindholm's message, which told top staff that they needed a Java license for Android, was subject to attorney-client privilege. Lindholm had been talking to regular Google employees and not lawyers, the federal appeals court said, making it a valid part of discovery.

The decision gives Oracle definitive access to what's considered a smoking gun for the case. Lindholm had been exploring alternatives to Java so that the company could avoid having to pay a license fee for every Android device sold. He told the company's mobile VP Andy Rubin, along with co-foudners Sergey Brin and Larry Page, that the alternatives weren't technically feasible and a license was necessary.

Google has won some concessions in the lawsuit, such as a three-phase process that will let it opt for a settlement early and reduced damage claims that would prevent Oracle from demanding billions. The Lindholm e-mail, however, makes it impossible for the company to deny that it knew it needed to license technology from Oracle. As such, it could owe hundreds of millions of dollars or more, both in back pay and possibly for ongoing royalties.

Android's core is based around a custom just-in-time Java engine known as Dalvik. The code isn't just considered similar enough to have prompted concerns but, in some cases, has directly borrowed code from the Sun era of Java that leaves little doubt as to the origin. [via Bloomberg]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yesterday I was reading...

    a book on how smart you have to be to get a job AT Google. Apparently you no longer have to REMAIN smart to continue working there!

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Two words

    Game over.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too Bad Google ...

    ... didn't Google it first.

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cutting corners to gain marketshare

    Googles new it had to act quickly to get early momentum. Unfortunately it looks like it was also willing to steal from competitors to do it. IP theft (copyright) is a crime.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wait. The lawyers were

    okay with declaring it attorney-client privilege?!!


  1. bleee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They probably crunched the numbers at the time

    It's an acceptable loss to Google... for the amount of market share they've gained, the amount of people they've converted over to Google services it was worth it.

  1. brainiac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Companies should

    Be giving incentives to all employees to pass the BAR exam so that all communication is confidential.

  1. aardman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Google's Goose is Cooked.

    Can Oracle refuse Google a license and just demand that Android be shut down until it's rewritten with non-infringing code?

  1. chas_m



    Two things I knew but didn't know

    I mean, I was aware of them but I'd forgotten about it, you know?

    1. Android is Java-based. AAAAHHHH, that's RIGHT! No WONDER its still laggy on quad-core chips! No WONDER I just can't get myself to like it no matter how hard I try! JAVA!

    2. Oh, yeah, that's right, Google IS evil! And Android IS STOLEN. That's an incontrovertible FACT now. Steve was right AGAIN.

  1. facebook_Brandon

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012


    Why not billions?

    I don't see why oracle isn't owed billions? I mean 100million is nice buy google is/has made billions off stolen software, not "inspired by" but copy, paste stolen.

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