Google might rule the search engine world but it doesn’t rule the courtroom.
Google has lost its bid to have an internal email from a software engineer ruled as privileged in its ongoing legal battle with Oracle.
Oracle is suing Google for allegedly using its Java programming language in the operating system for Google’s Android operating system.
During the discovery phase, Google turned over an email to Oracle which the search engine giant now wants to be kept confidential.
A Google software engineer researching alternatives to Java sent an email to the vice president of Android as well as in-house counsel saying the alternatives to Java “all suck”.
The US district judge overseeing the case ruled that just because Google labelled the email as confidential, doesn’t automatically make it privileged.
Whether this email proves to be the catalyst in this case remains to be seen as Oracle’s damages expert recommends the search engine giant pay out $US2.2 billion in damages if found guilty.
There is a lesson in this for all of us, one which Google – a world leader in collecting and storing information – may just learn the hard way.
All company emails have the potential to be used for or against you in a court, whether you think it is confidential or not.
To be on the safe side, if you don’t want an email to end up as legal evidence in future, then don’t send it.
The trial begins next year.