Oracle Ordered to Pay Google Just Over $1 Million in Legal Costs

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Back in July, we reported that Google sought to have its legal costs reimbursed for the shenanigan-filled trial that Oracle brought to bear against the search engine giant. At the time, Google wanted to squeeze Oracle for as much as they could, and thus requested over $4 million to cover their expenses. As of yesterday, it looks like Google will have to settle for a fraction of that amount. The courts have ruled that Oracle will have to hand over $1,130,350 to their opponent.

Judge William Alsup pulled no punches in describing Oracle’s attempt to avoid coughing up legal costs. Essentially, there are a couple ways Oracle could have potentially avoided paying any of Google’s expenses. A major method to avoid these kind of costs is if the case includes “a landmark issue of national importance.” The following excerpt from the order explains exactly what Judge Alsup thought of this particular loophole:

While it is true that a copyright issue presented, copyrightability of APIs, was of great importance to the computer industry, this is not enough to deny costs. The media attention following this case was due in large part because Oracle crafted broad, and ultimately overreaching, claims of copyright infringement. A close follower of this case will know that Oracle did not place great importance on its copyright claims until after its asserted patents started disappearing upon PTO reexamination (indeed, Oracle’s first damages report barely mentioned copyright claims). Oracle did not bring its API copyright claim for the benefit of addressing “a landmark issue of national importance,” but instead fell back on an overreaching (albeit somewhat novel) theory of copyright infringement for its own financial interests late in litigation.

He basically says that Oracle only brought attention to the specific piece of the case that could be considered of national importance far into the litigation, and only after most of their other accusations had fallen flat. It’s not like they’d built the case on the copyrightability of APIs. That’d be a whole different story.

Even though the court ruled that Oracle could certainly be held liable for legal costs, the company wasn’t hit with the absolute maximum. Judge Alsup made the call to deny Google’s request for $2,900,349 in e-discovery costs. On the other hand, a win is a win for Google, though this whole affair will surely be appealed again and again.

(via Groklaw, image credit via 401(K) 2012)

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