Google Asks Appeals Court to Keep E-Mail Out of Oracle Trial

Google Inc., fighting a lawsuit filed by Oracle Corp., asked a U.S. appeals court to keep secret an engineer’s e-mail that says the company should negotiate a license for the Java programming language.

Google is trying to prevent jurors from seeing an e-mail that Google software engineer Tim Lindholm wrote in August 2010, days before Oracle filed a lawsuit contending Google’s Android operating system was designed using patented and copyrighted features of Oracle’s Java.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco on Oct. 20 ruled that the e-mail wasn’t subject to attorney-client confidentiality protection. Google filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington yesterday, seeking to overrule that decision.

The Federal Circuit gave Oracle until Nov. 28 to respond to Google’s petition, according to an order posted on the court’s website. A copy of the petition wasn’t immediately available.

In the e-mail to Android creator Andrew Rubin, Lindholm said he was asked by Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page and company co-founder Sergey Brin to “investigate what technical alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome.”

“We’ve been over a bunch of these, and think they all suck,” Lindholm wrote. “We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need.”

Mountain View, California-based Google contends the e-mail was written as a result of an effort by the company and its lawyers to formulate a response to Oracle’s allegations. Google said they were mistakenly disclosed to Oracle.

Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Redwood City, California-based Oracle, said the company had no comment.

The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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