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Oracle Wants Expert Out of Fight Against Google

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Oracle on Thursday asked a federal judge to disqualify an expert in its multibillion dollar copyright suit against Google, claiming the expert is biased.

Attorneys for Oracle, Google and Dr. James Kearl appeared before U.S. District Judge William Alsup Thursday morning to debate Oracle's motion to disqualify Kearl as an independent expert on damages.

The lawsuit dates back to 2010 when Oracle first sued Google for copying its Java source code in the highly successful Android mobile operating system.

Oracle says Kearl was indirectly hired by Google to assist Samsung in the still ongoing Apple v. Samsung patent suit. Oracle accused Kearl of deliberately devaluing Samsung's counterclaim damages in that case to make Apple's $2 billion claim for damages look unreasonable.

Samsung paid Kearl $5 million for his expert analysis in the case, and he assessed the value of Samsung's patent infringement counterclaims at $6.7 million, said Oracle attorney Matthew Bush.

"Apple asked the jury why pay $5 million to defend a $6 million claim?" Bush said. "The only reason to spend that much time and money is to offer this strategy of saying these patents on smartphones aren't worth that much."

Google attorney Daniel Purcell told the judge that no one from his firm had any involvement in the Apple-Samsung case, and that Kearl's work only pertained to Samsung's counterclaims.

"Google didn't participate at all or have anything to do with Samsung's counter case against Apple," Purcell said.

An attorney representing Kearl told the judge that his client has no "adversarial position" toward Oracle or Google in this matter, adding that as he understands it, Kearl never conferred with anyone from Google during the Apple-Samsung case.

"I don't want an advocate for either side," Alsup said. "I want someone that is professionally pure."

Responding to claims that Kearl had no involvement in the Google-backed portion of the Apple-Samsung case, Bush said Kearl's work was part of the same overarching Google-led strategy in the lawsuit.

Bush told the judge if he feels the jury needs a neutral expert to help it understand the issue of damages, he should find one that is "professionally pure" and untainted.

"If I agreed with you and knocked out Dr. Kearl, we would delay this case 18 months while we found another expert," Alsup said, adding the trial could be pushed back as far as 2019 or 2020.

"I want to see the damages studies and find if they are simple enough that we don't need an expert," Alsup said. "I expect I'll be dismayed and find it so complicated that even I can't understand it."

A San Francisco jury previously found Google infringed Oracle's copyrights in its Android operating system, but the 10-person panel could not decide whether the Java source code in question was "fair use."

U.S. District Judge William Alsup later found Oracle's Java programming interfaces were not eligible to be copyrighted, but the Ninth Circuit reversed his ruling in May 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the ruling in June this year.

In August, Oracle submitted new evidence claiming the Android's growing market dominance in the mobile device arena has "destroyed" its revenue potential in the mobile-device market.

In September, Alsup separated the upcoming trial into two phases in response to Oracle's request that the issue of willful infringement be addressed to determine statutory damages.

A jury trial has been set for May 9, 2016, to decide whether Google's borrowing of Oracle's Java source code is considered "fair use."

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