The federal judge overseeing a major lawsuit over smartphone technology between Oracle Corp and Google Inc has quietly ended his examination of those companies' relationships with paid bloggers and other commentators.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco had shocked the legal and blogging communities on August 7 by demanding names of "print or Internet authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers" on the companies' payrolls.
The judge at the time expressed concern that payments might have influenced writings about the case. Legal experts questioned the breadth of the order, including whether it could violate the writers' First Amendment free speech rights.
But in an order issued on Tuesday, after Oracle and Google had submitted lists of names, Alsup said he would "take no further action regarding the subject of payments by the litigants to commentators and journalists."
He also said no commentaries had influenced his rulings in the case, other than "any treatise or article" he cited expressly.
Alsup has not revealed what prompted his August 7 order.
Oracle had sued Google in 2010, claiming that the search engine company's Android mobile platform infringed its patents and violated its rights to the Java programming language. It sought $1 billion of damages on its copyright claims.
A federal jury ruled in Google's favor on May 23. Eight days later, Alsup found that Oracle could not claim copyright protection on much of the Java language that Google used. Oracle has said it will appeal.
Android is the world's best-selling smartphone operating system.
The case is Oracle America Inc v. Google Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 10-03561.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)