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First off today, Aimee Chanthadavong at ZDNet reports that Motorola Solutions has won a $765 million jury verdict against Hytera Communications over allegations that Hytera misused both their trade secrets and copyrighted source code.
The lawsuit was originally filed in March 2017 and originally accused Hytera of copying Motorola trade secrets in Hytera’s two-way radios and repeaters. In July 2018, they updated the lawsuit to include allegations that Hytera copied Motorola’s source code in violation of copyright law. The case recently made it to trial where Motorola argued that Hytera had stolen both 10,000 confidential documents and millions of lines of source code in the making of their products.
To that end, the jury sided with Motorola, awarding them $345.8 million in compensatory damages and $418.8 million in punitive damages. That is the maximum amount that Motorola had requested. However, this doesn’t end the litigation between the two. In addition to the possibility of an appeal, Motorola Solutions has a second lawsuit against Hytera for patent infringement. That is expected to reach trial either late this year or early next.
Next up today, Adi Robertson at The Verge reports that Oracle has filed its response against Google as part of its upcoming Supreme Court showdown over Google’s use of Java APIs as part of their Android mobile operating system.
The case began back in 2010 when Oracle accused Google of infringing their copyright by copying their APIs when making Google’s implementation of Java as part of Android. Google noted that they had not copied anything else in the language and only used the APIs to ensure interoperability. Google further argued that APIs were not protected by copyright and that, even if they are, their use would be fair use. Though Google won two lower court decisions, both were overturned by the Appeals Court. If the Supreme Court rules against Google, it will face damages.
Google previously submitted a brief with the Supreme Court making its case that the use was fair use. However, Oracle has hit back with a response saying that a Google victory would hinder the development of future languages Like Java if it’s functionality can be trivially copied. Major tech companies, however, are largely backing Google and are arguing that an Oracle win would greatly hinder their ability to make broadly compatible software.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that musicians are accusing Universal Music Group (UMG) of “gamesmanship” in the ongoing litigation over a 2008 backlot fire that significantly damaged their vault of original recordings.
According to the plaintiffs, which are a class of musicians represented by UMG, UMG told insurance companies that some 17,000 artists’ original recordings were lost in the fire but now, in the lawsuit, it is only identifying 19. UMG, however, claims that accounting for all 17,000 artists, many of which aren’t part of the lawsuit, would “impose an extraordinary and impermissible burden on UMG.” UMG further claims that its statements to insurers were just a guess, especially considering many of the records were also destroyed in the fire.
The fire itself was largely unknown by the musicians until June 2019 when the New York Times ran an expose on it, calling it “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.” However, despite promises of “transparency” from UMG, artists feel that they have gotten anything but. The artists are claiming that they are owed some of the proceeds from the insurance payout as well as payments for the failure to protect their original work.