Appeals court denies Google bid to keep email out of Oracle trial

The email by Google engineer Tim Lindholm could prove damaging to Google's defense, experts believe

Google has failed in its latest attempt to keep a potentially damaging email out of the lawsuit Oracle filed against it over alleged Java intellectual-property violations in the Android mobile OS.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Monday denied Google's petition over the email, which was written by Google engineer Tim Lindholm, according to information on the court's website. The text of the court's decision was not immediately available.

"What we've actually been asked to do by Larry and Sergey is to investigate what technical alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome," Lindholm wrote in the August 2010 email, shortly before Oracle filed suit, apparently referring to Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. "We've been over a bunch of these, and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need."

Google went to the appeals court after a number of unsuccessful attempts to convince the main judge in the case that the email should be excluded, arguing in part that it was protected under attorney-client privilege.

In addition, the email does not constitute proof that Google was guilty of willfully infringing on Java, and instead "concerns an investigation made in anticipation of Oracle's lawsuit, shortly after Google learned of the patents that Oracle is asserting," Google said in a previous filing.

Still, the email's contents have been seen as a potentially potent weapon for Oracle's attorneys when the case goes to trial.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010, claiming that Android violated a number of patents and copyrights it holds on Java. Google has denied wrongdoing, saying that Android uses a "clean-room" Java implementation that doesn't infringe on Oracle's intellectual property.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
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