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Judge Rejects Google's Complaint Against Microsoft in Android Case

A judge has rebuffed Google's attempt to disqualify an expert witness in the legal battle between Microsoft and Motorola over Android's use, saying that Google had not documented its claims.

The case involves Motorola's use of the Linux-based Android mobile OS, which Microsoft says infringes on some of Microsoft's intellectual property holdings. As a major Android backer, Google is indirectly involved in this legal dispute, and was ordered to provide its confidential Android code for review.

Google's attorneys cried foul last week, claiming that a Microsoft expert witness improperly reviewed the Android code. Google was supposed to have received advance notice from Microsoft that the expert, Dr. Robert Stevenson, would review the code. Since Microsoft failed to provide that notice, Google's attorneys said his testimony should be excluded from consideration.

However, Administrative Law Judge Theodore Essex, acting on behalf of the U.S. International Trade Commission in the Microsoft vs. Motorola dispute, issued an order on Monday saying Google had failed to document its "good-faith effort to resolve the matter with Microsoft."

The judge specifically noted that Google had not included a copy of the letter to Microsoft notifying Microsoft of the protocol breach. Consequently, Essex denied Google's petition.

The legal squabbling between Microsoft and Google was overshadowed by Google's announcement this week that it plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. It's thought that Google's motivation for picking up Motorola is to increase its patent portfolio as a legal defensive maneuver, particularly with regard to Android patents.

Android is considered to be the No. 1 consumer mobile operating system on the market in terms of volume sales. Android is offered royalty-free to mobile device makers, but the OS has also been subject to multiple lawsuits, and not just from Microsoft; Apple is also suing device makers over Android use. Google also faces direct litigation from Oracle, which contends that Android use infringes Oracle's Java intellectual property holdings.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.