I went to see a fight the other day when a hockey game broke out. The way lawsuits are flying in Silicon Valley, that wordplay could be used on tech stocks as well.
In the Android lawsuit issued by Oracle
Oracle wants Google to pay "billions of dollars" in damages for the way it allegedly misused Java code to develop the Android platform. Ho-hum -- happens all the time. The database master made similarly outrageous claims in a recent tussle with rival SAP
Here's where it gets creepy.
Google filed a court document to strike Oracle's estimate of damages from the record, on the grounds that the hired expert's "legal errors are fundamental and disqualifying, and allowing him to testify about his conclusions to a jury would prejudice Google."
But the filing itself is full of blacked-out text in the public record and is marked this way: "Contains Confidential and Highly Confidential -- Attorneys' Eyes Only Information." The stricken portions appear to discuss exactly how much money Oracle is asking for, as well as the methodologies used to arrive at that estimate.
So Oracle shot back in a very non-redacted filing of its own, clearly showing that Google had censored "[a]ny and all references to the fact that Oracle's damages claims in this case are in the billions of dollars" along with isolated words such as "multi-billion" and "valueless."
Putting a damper on Android through court injunctions or enormous fees would have massive effects on the mobile market. Not only is Google's future at stake, but handset partners from Motorola Mobility
A lawsuit of this magnitude clearly deserves a bit of drama, and we're getting it aplenty. Google, the traditional champion of open information, comes off as secretive and sneaky, while Oracle gets to say, "We have nothing to hide!"
The way I read it is a bit different. It looks like Google was trying to abide by Oracle's own confidentiality requests and simply struck a bit more than necessary from the record -- an error Oracle is all too happy to point out. Then again, I'm a Google shareholder and perhaps a little biased. Moreover, I'm no lawyer.
Perhaps you know better or have a bar degree to back up your opinions. In that case, you can read Google's filing here and Oracle's over there, and then come back to explain what's really going on. The comments box is waiting below with bated breath.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Oracle, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft and Google, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.