Judge denies Google's witness complaint in Microsoft-Motorola dispute

Summary:Google's motion to block key testimony from Microsoft and Motorola's patent dispute case has been denied. Google is said to be "afraid" of the outcome.

A U.S. judge has rejected a move by Google to block crucial testimony of a Microsoft key witness, in an ongoing patent dispute with Motorola.

U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Theodore Essex earlier this week denied Google's motion to block testimony from Robert Stevenson, an Android expert working with Microsoft.

Microsoft has accused Motorola of infringing a patent, with its phones that run Google's Android operating system. Google put forward a motion last week alleging that Microsoft improperly shared "confidential" source code with an expert witness in the case. Google wanted to prevent the witness from testifying, but was shot down earlier this week.

Stevenson is thought to have seen "highly propriety" source code that Google "does not even share with its partners, such as Motorola"

Google should have attempted to resolve the matter with Microsoft, but allegedly did not receive a reply from Microsoft's attorney, CNET reports.

The judge in the case, however, dropped the motion, allowing Stevenson to testify at the upcoming hearing.

Though the patent dispute involves Google in that the discussion on the table relates to its Android operating system, only Microsoft and Motorola -- the two disputing parties -- are allowed to file motions for sanctions.

Google -- which always insists that Android is an open operating system -- clearly is not.

Google is thought to be "extremely afraid" of the outcome to this investigation, according to one source. If it is found that Motorola and other Android-based devices infringe patents belonging to Microsoft, then any of Google's partners would have to pay royalties back to Microsoft.

This comes in the week that Google announced it will acquire Motorola Mobility; the handset making arm of Motorola, which would not only heavily increase Google's patent portfolio, but allow the search giant to become a fully fledged mobile manufacturer.

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Topics: Google, Microsoft, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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