Court's damages expert for Oracle-Google trial stands to get $2 million

The compensation, revealed in court filings, seems 'enormous,' according to one observer

A court-appointed damages expert who served in the intellectual-property suit Oracle lodged against Google over the Android mobile OS could receive nearly $2 million in compensation, according to court filings late Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Earlier this year, Google largely prevailed in the case, which centered on whether Android infringed on copyright and patents Oracle holds on the Java programming language. Google demanded in its Thursday filing that Oracle pay Google's share of Dr. James Kearl's fees and expenses, which amounted to $986,978.

Oracle "recovered none of the relief it sought in this litigation," Google said. "Accordingly, Google is the prevailing party and is entitled to recover costs."

Before the trial, Judge William Alsup ordered the appointment of Kearl as an independent expert and said Oracle and Google would have to split the cost of his fees. Given that Google wants Oracle to pay nearly $1 million, the total amount to be given Kearl could be close to $2 million.

"That's an enormous number," said an attorney familiar with but not directly connected to the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "If you just do the numbers, that would be 2,000 hours at $1,000 per hour."

It was not immediately clear how the expenses attributed to Kearl's services break down, as invoices associated with them were filed under seal with the court.

Some of the total can likely be attributed to travel and accommodations fees, as well as monies paid to any supporting staff Kearl may have had, the attorney said. A more reasonable sum for Kearl's services might be $500,000, which would still be sizable but realistic given the complexity of the case, the attorney added.

Oracle and Google also hired their own damages experts to submit reports; the total of their fees wasn't available Friday.

Kearl and an attorney previously appointed by the court to represent him in his duties as a witness did not respond to requests for comment.

Google is also seeking about $3 million from Oracle in "fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case," according to the filing.

Documents were collected from 86 parties for the suit, and Google shipped nearly 100 million documents to a vendor for processing and review, it adds. That set of documents was narrowed down, with Google ultimately providing some 3.3 million documents "in response to Oracle's requests," the filing states.

Google also wants Oracle to pay roughly $140,000 for transcripts associated with the case.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined comment.

The legal battle between Oracle and Google may be far from concluded, as Oracle is expected to appeal.

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

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