Judge William Alsup of the US District Court has ordered that Oracle Google disclose information pertaining to whether or not the parties may have paid off journalists and bloggers to provide biased opinion on their recently settled patent showdown. The court’s “concern” centers on Florian Mueller, known as the author of FOSS Patents, after Oracle hired the amateur patent expert to their team. What followed was a series of articles discussing the trial that placed favor in Oracle’s court.
Alsup’s request may carry multiple implications. Not only could the newly uncovered information be used during the appeals process, but it would also call to light recent issues involving the use of industry voices to shift public opinion, such as Samsung’s recent decision to release evidence barred from their legal fight with Apple. When there is money involved, that counts as a paid endorsement. And when it’s a paid endorsement, the endorser is required to that provide information upfront.