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Federal Judge in Oracle-Google Fight Displays Irritation for Coughing and Clacking

Posted Apr 18, 2012 6:38 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The San Francisco federal judge overseeing Oracle’s infringement claim against Google likes a quiet courtroom.

Coughing lawyers and typing reporters beware. U.S. District Judge William Alsup interrupted voir dire on Monday when someone at Google’s counsel table started coughing, the Recorder blog Legal Pad reports. "Who is hacking and coughing?" Alsup wanted to know. He offered a lozenge.

Alsup continued to display irritation on Tuesday. "I have a strong view," he said, that a lawyer who is speaking has the "absolute right for full attention" without "hacking or coughing or paper shuffling."

Later, Alsup complained because a reporter was typing too loudly, the blog says. Court security officials made at least three reporters shut down their devices and told one lawyer in the gallery to stop clicking his pen.

The Los Angeles Times previews the issues in the case. Oracle claims Google is using patented and copyrighted Java technology in Android software used in more than 300 million mobile devices. Alsup, 66, has called the dispute “the World Series" of high-tech law cases, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

According to the Mercury News, Alsup is “a no-nonsense son of the South who has been running one of the tightest courtroom ships in the Bay Area since former President Bill Clinton put him on the bench in 1999.” He has led mountaineering expeditions and arrives at work by 5:30 a.m.

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