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Judge Dismisses Google's Complaint in Android Lawsuit

Google's attempt to disqualify an expert witness in a legal dispute between Microsoft and Motorola over Android use was rebuffed by the judge this week.

Administrative Law Judge Theodore Essex issued an order indicating that Google had not documented its claims. The case involves Microsoft and its complaint against Motorola over the use of the open source, Linux-based Android mobile operating system. Microsoft contends that Motorola's use of Android infringes some of Microsoft's intellectual property holdings.

Google, which helped to develop Android, is indirectly involved in this legal dispute, having been ordered to provide its confidential Android code for review. Google's attorneys cried foul last week, claiming that a Microsoft expert witness improperly reviewed the Android code.

Google was supposed to have received advance notice from Microsoft that the expert, Dr. Robert Stevenson, would review the code. Since Microsoft failed to provide that notice, the expert's testimony should be excluded from consideration, Google's attorneys contended.

The administrative law judge, acting on behalf of the U.S. International Trade Commission in the Microsoft vs. Motorola dispute, indicated that Google had failed to document its "good-faith effort to resolve the matter with Microsoft." The judge specifically noted that Google had not included a copy of the letter to Microsoft notifying Microsoft of the protocol breach. Consequently, Judge Essex denied Google's petition.

The legal squabbling was overshadowed by Google's announcement this week that it plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. It's thought that Google's motivation for picking up Motorola is to increase its patent portfolio as a legal defensive maneuver, particularly with regard to Android patents.

Android is considered to be the No. 1 consumer mobile operating system on the market in terms of volume sales. Android is offered royalty free to mobile device makers, but the OS has also been subject to multiple lawsuits. The lawsuits aren't just coming from Microsoft. Apple is also suing device makers over Android use. Google also faces direct litigation from Oracle, which contends that Android use infringes Oracle's Java intellectual property holdings.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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