Oracle, Google again fail to settle Android lawsuit

Judge William Alsup also denied Google's latest effort to minimize the impact of a potentially damaging email

Oracle and Google held another settlement conference on Wednesday in their ongoing lawsuit over alleged Java intellectual property violations in the Android mobile OS, but failed to reach an agreement, according to a filing in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

In a change from past settlement meetings, only attorneys for each side participated, and both via telephone. Previous sessions have seen Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page participate in face-to-face talks.

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Additional settlement discussions will be "scheduled in consultation with parties," the filing states.

The case had been set to go to trial Oct. 31, but Judge William Alsup recently postponed it to sometime next year.

Also Wednesday, Google received another setback in its bid to minimize the potential impact on a jury of an email sent by Google engineer Tim Lindholm in August 2010, shortly before Oracle filed suit.

"What we've actually been asked to do by [Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin] is to investigate what technical alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome," Lindholm wrote in the email Android chief Andy Rubin. "We've been over a bunch of these, and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need."

Google had tried unsuccessfully to keep the email out of the trial, arguing that it was subject to attorney-client privilege and had been wrongly revealed by Oracle in violation of a protective order.

But Google also sought to retain the right to label the email and various draft copies as "attorney's eyes only," a move Oracle opposed. Alsup ruled against Google on Wednesday and ordered the company to produce a set of the documents without the designation.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.

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