Google in a motion filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeks to to keep one of Microsoft’s expert witnesses from testifying in the software giant’s ongoing legal fracas with Motorola, alleging that the witness has seen the source code for its Android operating system.
The company specifically asked to keep Microsoft-hired expert Robert Stevenson from testifying, saying that he’s seen the Android source code, which remains confidential. Furthermore, Google says it never gave Stevenson permission to view the code, something that’s required as part of the case’s protective order.
Microsoft’s ITC case against Motorola is one of several “proxy battles” against Android-powered phones. Microsoft wants to use patents to collect royalties on every Android-powered handset, and has reached settlements in some cases, including with HTC. But Motorola is fighting back hard, and launched its own ITC counter-suit not long after Microsoft kicked off the fight. Both ITC cases are still pending.
The complaints with the ITC aim to keep infringing products and services from being sold in the U.S. The fallout from these suits and the other complaints could end up in a settlement or a licensing deal.
Yesterday’s filing follows a heated exchange between Google and Microsoft last week, kicked off by a blog post by Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, alleging that Microsoft was conspiring with Apple and others to keep patents away from it. Microsoft’s corporate vice president of corporate communications, Frank Shaw, fired back, releasing an e-mail from Google general counsel Kent Walker to his counterpart at Microsoft, Brad Smith, declining Microsoft’s offer to jointly bid on patents from Nortel.
Drummond later updated the original blog post, claiming Shaw’s move was an attempt to “divert attention by pushing a false ‘gotcha!’ while failing to address the substance of the issues we raised.” Microsoft’s Shaw responded with a series of tweets, saying Google sought to gain patents that it “could use to assert against someone else.”
Google Motion For Sanctions, ITC Investigation 337-TA-744: