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13.8.11

Google accuses Microsoft of revealing 'highly confidential source code'


Google has said in a complaint that Microsoft violated a court order by providing “highly confidential source code” to a Microsoft expert.

Google is seeking to bar Microsoft’s expert, Robert Stevenson, from testifying in a patent case involving Microsoft and Motorola. In the complaint to the International Trade Commission, Google is seeking sanctions against Microsoft. The complaint is part of a case that involves a patent battle over Google’s smartphone operating system Android.

Google says Microsoft failed to notify Google that the expert was getting access the source code:
The protective order governing confidentiality in this investigation explicitly requires that Microsoft disclose to Google any consultant or expert seeking access to Google confidential business information or highly confidential source code before allowing a consultant or expert to review such information so that Google has an opportunity to object prior to disclosure.
The Google complaint was reported by paidContent.org.
The Google complaint relates to Microsoft’s suit against Motorola, alleging that the mobile phone maker’s Android-based smartphones violate nine of the Redmond company’s patents. In October 2010, Microsoft filed the case with the International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Microsoft makes significant revenue off its Android patent claims. For every Android phone that HTC sells, Microsoft gets $5, according to industry analysts. HTC is paying Microsoft as part of a settlement in a patent case Microsoft brought against HTC. Microsoft is reportedly seeking $7.50 to $12.50 per device from other Android phone makers.

Computerworld quotes an industry observer who says Google’s complaint against Microsoft is weak:
Yesterday’s move by Google was little more than delaying tactic, said patent activist and analyst Florian Mueller. Mueller writes the FOSS Patents blog, where he regularly posts analyses of the ongoing patent wars.
"This is a secondary theater of war," said Mueller in an email interview. "It's about procedural tactics, maybe hoping that this could cause a delay, but whatever the outcome may be, it won’t change anything about the substance of this case."

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