In an unusual move, a judge in the patent battle between Google and Oracle has ordered the companies to disclose the names of journalists on their payrolls.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup said he was concerned that Google and Oracle or their counsel had retained or paid people who may have published comment on the case.
The order is issued several months after a jury found that Google did not infringe Oracle patents.
Two potential reasons for the order would be if there were evidence that the jury had been swayed by extensive press coverage of the case, or if the jury had relied on evidence not properly labeled as unbiased, such as a for-pay news article offered as an exhibit in the trial.
But with the trial mostly finished, the information would be of use on appeal.
Oracle sued Google in federal court, claiming the search engine giant's Android mobile platform violated its patents and copyright to Java, seeking roughly $1 billion on its copyright claims.
The jury ruled in Google's favor and the judge decided Oracle could not claim copyright protection on most of the Java material that Oracle took to trial.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Oracle America, Inc v. Google Inc, 10-3561.