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New Claims Barred in Oracle-Google Redux

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Oracle cannot add new claims of copyright infringement against Google when the two tech giants face off in a second jury trial this spring, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Google accused Oracle of trying to sneak in evidence at the last minute to claim that newer releases of Google's Android operating system steal code from versions of Oracle's Java platform that were never asserted in a previous jury trial.

When Oracle asked the court for permission to file a supplemental complaint against Google this past July, Oracle attorney Annette Hurst assured the court new evidence would only pertain to damages relating to Google's growing market dominance in the mobile-device market.

"You told me there would be no new works," U.S. District Judge William Alsup told Hurst during a hearing Tuesday. "That turns out to be untrue."

Hurst said when Oracle filed its supplemental complaint this past August, the company did not realize at the time that newer releases of Android lifted code not only from Oracle's Java Standard Edition versions 1.4 and 5, but also from versions 6 and 7.

"It was not until we did the code comparison in October and November that we learned about it," Hurst told the judge.

Because Oracle previously stated it would not raise new infringement claims, Alsup partially granted Google's motion to strike the evidence from the record.

However, the judge refused to categorically rule out any mentions of the two Java versions at trial, finding they could still come into evidence for limited purposes.

Although Oracle will not be allowed to present that evidence at trial, Alsup said the company could still file a new lawsuit to litigate those claims in the future.

The introduction of six new Android versions into evidence, staring with the Gingerbread release of December 2010, carries the potential for an injunction that could block Google from using those versions. That would only happen if a jury rules in favor of Oracle and Alsup deems an injunction against the infringing software justified.

Alsup refused to entertain Oracle's motions for summary judgment on some of Google's defense claims, finding summary judgment motions would fly in the face of the Federal Circuit's opinion directing him to hold a new jury trial to settle the question of fair use.

"We don't need more summary judgment motions," Alsup said. "It's just going to be a waste of time. I know enough about the case to know it would be highly unlikely I'll grant any."

A San Francisco jury previously found Google infringed 37 of Oracle's copyrighted application program interfaces, or APIs, in May 2012 but deadlocked on whether the code was considered "fair use."

Alsup later found the APIs ineligible for copyrighting, but the Federal Circuit overturned his ruling in May 2014 and ordered a new jury trial. This past June, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider an appeal of that ruling.

During Tuesday's hearing, Hurst also asked the judge to exclude evidence Google plans to present of blog posts written by Jonathan Schwartz, former CEO of Sun Microsystems - the company that created Java and acquired by Oracle in 2009.

Google attorney Christa Anderson called the blog posts, in which Schwartz praised the Android platform when it was first launched, an official record of the company that should be included as evidence.

Hurst countered the blog posts are irrelevant to the issue of fair use and should not be presented to the jury.

Alsup asked the attorneys to limit their requests to exclude evidence to six 5-page motions in limine, which he plans to rule on following brief arguments on the morning before the jury trial begins.

The second jury trial between the two tech giants is set to kick off on May 9.

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