Google claims to have removed objectionable web content. Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Oracle Corp and Google Inc responded on Friday to a judge's request for the identity of all writers who commented on the companies' intellectual property lawsuit, and who received money from the tech giants.
But while the post-trial order from U.S. District Judge William Alsup earlier this month had riveted tech and legal circles, the companies' responses contained no bombshells.
"Neither Google nor its counsel has paid an author, journalist, commentator or blogger to report or comment on any issues in this case," the Internet search company said in its court filing.
Alsup's highly unusual order came months after the companies had squared off at trial, which featured testimony from high-profile technology executives including Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page. The case attracted heavy media coverage from the mainstream press and technology-focused blogs.
In his order, Alsup said he was "concerned" about relationships between commentators and the companies, but the judge did not reveal what specifically prompted him to act.
Oracle on Friday said it had hired blogger Florian Mueller, who often comments on patent issues, as a consultant on "competition related matters." However, Oracle said it retained Mueller after he began writing about the litigation.
"He was not retained to write about the case," Oracle said.
In an email to Reuters, Mueller noted he had previously disclosed the Oracle connection on his blog. "It's a consulting relationship, not a pay-for-blog relationship," he said on Friday.
In its court filing on Friday, Oracle also said some employees might have blogged about the case, but said it did not ask for or approve such posts.
Oracle sued Google in federal court in 2010, claiming the latter's Android mobile platform violated its patents and copyright to the Java programming language. It sought roughly $1 billion on the copyright claims.
Earlier this year, after the jury decided in Google's favor, Alsup ruled Oracle could not claim copyright protection on most of the Java material that Oracle took to trial. Oracle has said it will appeal.
Oracle also criticized Google for funding certain trade associations, whose staff then wrote about legal issues in play during the litigation. In its filing, Google acknowledged contributions to various groups but said it has not paid any of them to comment on issues in the case.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Oracle America, Inc v. Google Inc, 10-3561.