Judge OKs Google E-Mail About Licensing Java

A potentially damning e-mail from a Google engineer will be permitted at trial in Oracle's lawsuit against the search giant, a judge ordered on Thursday.

A potentially damning e-mail from a Google engineer will be permitted at trial in Oracle's lawsuit against the search giant, a judge ordered on Thursday.

Judge William Alsup denied Google's latest attempt to have the e-mail removed from the record.

Google has argued that the e-mail, which suggests that Google thought it needed a license for Java, should be redacted because it was a draft and is subject to attorney-client privilege, and because Oracle didn't properly reveal it to the court. The judge denied those claims earlier this week.

Google then asked to submit additional reasons for redacting the document. But the judge on Thursday said that request came too late.

Alsup himself warned Google that the e-mail would hurt it at trial.

The e-mail was written in August last year by Tim Lindholm, a Google engineer, to Andy Rubin, who runs Google's Android division.

"What we've actually been asked to do by Larry and Sergey is to investigate what technology alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome," Lindholm wrote. "We've been over a hundred of these and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java." He was referring to Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

When the e-mail surfaced during a hearing last month, Alsup told Google: "You're going to be on the losing end of this document with Andy Rubin on the stand."

A jury trial in the case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is set for Oct. 31.

Oracle filed the suit last year, accusing Google of infringing on Java-related patents in Android. The suit is being closely watched by the mobile community because the implications could be severe, particularly if Google loses. Oracle could demand that Google pay a license fee each time Android is used on a phone or tablet. Google might pass that cost on to manufacturers. Android is currently available free to handset makers.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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