The stakes are high in the intellectual property lawsuit filed against Google by Oracle, which alleges the search giant's Android mobile OS was built upon seven Java patents owned by the database vendor after it purchased Sun Microsystems.
Oracle says it wants a U.S. District Court in California to award it $2.6 billion in damages, and the presiding judge seems to at least suspect that there's fire accompanying the patent smoke.
From IDG News Service:
[I]n a filing earlier this week, [Judge William] Alsup said it "appears possible" Google knew Android might infringe on patents "protecting at least part of Java, entered into negotiations with Sun [Microsystems] to obtain a license for use in Android, then abandoned the negotiations as too expensive, and pushed home with Android without any license at all."
Meanwhile, in a court filing late Thursday, Oracle said it wants to depose Google chief executive Larry Page for questioning regarding his "decision to acquire Android, Inc., and thereby develop and launch the platform that Oracle now contends infringes its [Java] patents and copyrights."
It's just like that Larry Ellison to kill Page's recent Google+ buzz!
Google's attorneys are crying foul, noting that Oracle already has deposed Andy Rubin, the search company's employee who, Google said, "is considered the 'father' of Android and led the Sun-Java talks," according to IDG.
Oracle's real goal, Google's lawyers said, is to harass "Google's most senior executive."
Hmm. Where have we heard something like that before?...
"Oracle's last-minute effort to require him to appear live at trial is no more than an effort to harass him and interfere with his duties and responsibilities as HP's CEO."
That was an HP flack speaking last fall about new chief executive Leo Apotheker, who Oracle wanted to question in its copyright infringement lawsuit against German business software maker SAP, which Apotheker headed before getting fired and taking the HP job months later.
If you recall, Apotheker was supposed to start work at HP on Nov. 1, presumably by showing up at HP's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., to fill out his job application for the anal HR people and maybe fire a few laggards to let everyone know who's boss.
Instead, Apotheker began his new job by embarking on what HP described as a worldwide "listening tour," meeting company employees, customers and shareholders in places coincidentally beyond a geographical location where he could be served a subpoena.
This led some people to question whether Leo was "on the lam." Such cynicism!
In the end, Apotheker managed to totally duck the subpoena (though Oracle totally won the court case).
So there's your template, Larry Page. TIme to pack those suitcases and hit the road. Google's employees in Istanbul await you.