Oracle Balks at Google’s Demand|for $4 Million in Litigation Costs

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Shrugging off Google’s demands for more than $4 million in legal bills stemming from the landmark copyright and patent trial, Oracle said mixed results demand that the parties bear their own costs.
     In the two years since Oracle accused Google of developing copyrighted and patented Java source code for the Android operating system, both sides have racked up staggering legal bills. Though Google filed its request for attorneys’ fees under seal last week, Oracle said in an answer Monday that Google seeks $4,030,669.
     Oracle says Google has demanded “what appears to be the entire expense ($2.9M) of Google’s electronic document discovery vendor and Google’s share of the fees of court-appointed damages expert Dr. James Kearl ($986,978).” (Parentheses in original.)
     But Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs urged U.S. District Judge William Alsup to deny Google’s claim.
     “Because the key disputed issues concerning API copyrightability were close, complex, without direct precedent, and of great importance to the computer software industry, and neither Oracle nor Google prevailed on all claims in this case, the court should exercise its discretion to deny costs and allow each party to bear its own expenses,” the brief states.
     Jurors found Google guilty of copying 37 Java application programming interface (API) files and nine lines of code involving a method called rangeCheck code, but they failed to agree on whether the other copyright infringements constituted fair use.
     Alsup later ruled that APIs are not copyrightable, and the jury cleared Google of patent infringement in the second phase of the trial.
     Oracle won exactly zero dollars in damages for the rangeCheck code infringement and has since attempted to end his affiliation with the trial by denying Oracle’s requests for summary judgment or a new trial. But both Oracle and Google have continued to paper the judge’s courtroom with briefs and motions in anticipation of Oracle’s federal appeal.
     Oracle argues that its “good faith” litigation of the trial requires Google to pay its own way.
     “Oracle helped to narrow the issues for trial by dropping asserted patent claims and ultimately agreeing to withdraw five of the original seven patents,” the brief states. “Oracle simplified the lingering statutory damages issue at the end of the case by agreeing to forego damages for Google’s code copying. The court thanked the parties for the extensive briefing supplied on the API copyrightability issues, and praised the parties for efficiently managing the presentation of evidence at trial.”
     Jacob, Oracle’s attorney, also rejects Google’s attempts at recouping more than $2.9 million in electronic discovery expenses, which include document processing and handling, hardware expenses, shipping, and personnel costs.
     There is precedent for denying costs related to “the convenience of counsel,” Jacobs said.
     “While some of these expenses may have been necessary for physical reproduction purposes, some of them surely reflect the ‘intellectual effort’ of organizing, searching, and analyzing the documents for Google’s own case preparation purposes,” the brief states. “Google makes no effort to distinguish between the necessary costs of physically copying documents for production and costs expended for its own purposes.”
     Oracle says it and Google stipulated months ago to sharing the cost of the court-appointed expert.
     “That agreement is binding,” and Alsup should hold Google to it, Jacobs wrote.
     A hearing is set for Aug. 23.

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