Judge bounces Google's complaint over Android code viewing

ITC rejects Google effort to block expert testimony in Microsoft-Motorola patent battle

A U.S. trade judge has rejected Google's move to block the testimony of a Microsoft expert witness in the latter's 10-month dispute with Motorola over patents allegedly used by Android.

On Monday, U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) Judge Theodore Essex denied Google's motion to prevent Robert Stevenson, an expert hired by Microsoft, from testifying about the Android source code at an upcoming hearing.

Last week, Google accused Microsoft of violating a confidentiality agreement struck between Microsoft, Motorola and Google in the ITC case.

Essex rejected Google's motion.

"The ALJ [Administrative Law Judge] finds no basis to discern from Google's statement whether Google made a reasonable, good-faith effort to resolve the matter with Microsoft," Essex wrote in his ruling.

Essex also pointed out that only parties in a complaint -- in this case Microsoft and Motorola -- are allowed to file a motion for sanctions like the one Google demanded. "Google has not set forth any legal support for the proposition that a non-party may move for sanctions," wrote Essex.

Google's complaint centered around Stevenson, who Microsoft allowed to review Android source code. Google said it had not been told beforehand that Stevenson would see what it called "confidential" code so "highly proprietary...that Google does not even share with its partners, such as Motorola."

In an interview last week, German patent activist and analyst Florian Mueller said that Google's attempt to block Stevenson was no more than a speed bump in the case, which he sees as potentially harmful to Android if Microsoft wins.

"I think Google is extremely afraid of the outcome of this particular ITC investigation," said Mueller last week. "If this investigation finds Motorola and, in fact, all Android devices to infringe various valid Microsoft patents, all of Google's hardware partners will have to pay royalties to Microsoft."

Microsoft filed its complaint with the ITC in October 2010, when it charged Motorola with violating several Microsoft patents in Motorola devices powered by Google's Android operating system.

On Monday, Google announced plans to acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion. Most analysts have said Google's need for a beefier patent portfolio -- necessary to deter further infringement claims against Android by the likes of Microsoft and Apple -- prompted the purchase and high price.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Read more about drm and legal issues in Computerworld's DRM and Legal Issues Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileMicrosoftsmartphonesMotorolaGoogleconsumer electronicsITCMobile OSesU.S. International Trade CommissionDRM and Legal Issues

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?