Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oracle is open about wanting billions of dollars from Google

Yesterday I concluded from a Google filing that Oracle seeks a billion-dollar amount in damages. Today Oracle filed a document that confirms this position in no uncertain terms.

Oracle opposes a Google motion to file its précis regarding damages under seal. Oracle "requests that the Court deny that motion and file Google’s précis in the public record." [Update] Oracle's opposition was successful and the relevant document is now in the public record. It's now known that those damages claims are in the range between 1.4 and 6.1 billion dollars. [/Update]

The purpose of filing such documents under seal -- and publishing only a redacted version, from which any confidential information is removed -- is to protect sensitive information. But Oracle complains that Google has redacted passages that go beyond. According to Oracle, Google wanted to hide from public view:

  • information that isn't even confidential, such as the price Oracle paid for Sun

  • "erroneous or distorted descriptions of the facts (for example, its incorrect assessment of the value of one of the patents-in-suit)"

  • misrepresentations: "for example, the misrepresentation that Professor Cockburn included all Google advertising revenue from all Android devices and all harm from fragmentation of Java in his valuation calculations, the misrepresentation that he applied a 50% royalty rate as part of his analysis—a misrepresentation that Google admits in its full Daubert motion—and the misrepresentation of the amount of Professor Cockburn’s ultimate damages

  • "isolated words such as 'multi-billion' and 'valueless'", and -- lo and behold --

  • "[a]ny and all references to the fact that Oracle’s damages claims in this case are in the billions of dollars."

Oracle believes those claims are perfectly in line with the law, "based on both accepted methodology and a wealth of concrete evidence. They should not be hidden from public view."

Oracle's demand for transparency is very important. After all, Google based its request for sealing the relevant document on its obligations to protect Oracle's secrets. But Oracle now advocates transparency. Openness.

I'd like more transparency, too. I do what I can to analyze the publicly accessible filings in the case just to understand and explain what's going on. I want to be accurate, and as you can see, I was right when I wrote yesterday that this was going to be about a billion-dollar amount. But I want filings that really tell the story, and I don't want to be misled.

Recently I reported on a Google filing that suggested Oracle wanted a 50% royalty rate on all Android-related mobile advertising revenue. That's what the publicly viewable part of the filing suggested, and in my analysis I repeatedly pointed out that it was subject to the filing correctly representing the situation. I would much rather have all the facts on the table.

Oracle demonstrates a whole lot of confidence by advocating transparency and openly stating that this is about "billions of dollars." Google apparently doesn't want that information to be debated publicly. They probably fear that this could have the Android ecosystem concerned. They may also fear that this could influence the future jury before this case goes to trial (which is tentatively scheduled to begin on October 31, 2011).

But this is a case that inevitably draws a lot of interest. [Update] That's why I'm glad that the judge agreed on this transparency issue with Oracle. [/Update]

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