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Matters of fact | 217 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Ouch - but ...
Authored by: PJ on Tuesday, November 27 2012 @ 11:40 PM EST
Judges judge. That's what he was doing. He was
saying, you are wrong on the law to imagine that
this stupid theory of yours will fly, because
I program and I see through it.

So don't bother to try it, because you will
not succeed.

That's what judges do every day, all day long,
explain the law to lawyers and juries. That's their
job, to decide which lawyer theory wins and which
one loses. They can do it orally or they can
rule on paper filings. He did it orally, letting
Boies know that although it might sound legit,
it was not. Boies had researched the law, and he
was trying to fit the facts into the law, which is
that there must be a connection between an infringement
and the infringer's profits. If you copy and then
make a bundle *because* you copied something, you
dont' get to keep the bundle.

Here, nobody made any money because of rangeCheck.
Boies tried to argue that there was a connection,
that it saved Google time, that copying saved them
time, so they made it to market faster.

The judge told him the truth, that it might have
saved them 5 minutes, but really not even that,
in that they could have written it in that 5 mins.
from scratch. Hence no nexus.

So he was explaining the law to Boies, that his
theory foundered on reality. That is what a judge
is supposed to do. It's not acting like an expert
witness. It's acting like a judge.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Matters of fact
Authored by: Wol on Wednesday, November 28 2012 @ 12:12 PM EST
As I understand it, Judges can rule on matters of fact where there is no real

Okay, that's tricky, in that an attorney may manufacture a dispute (Boies,
anyone) with the intention of stopping a Judge's "ruling as a matter of
fact" but, ...

For example, I call myself a Chemistry graduate (we don't have the
"majoring in" system but that's sort of what it is). With that
qualification, I would have thought a Judge would be perfectly within his rights
ruling as a matter of fact on some chemistry facts even if the attorneys claimed
it was disputed. If the Judge can turn round and say "well, actually, I
have personal knowledge of the realm and you are talking out of your rear
end" then he can rule. After all, "no reasonable jury" would -
could - rule otherwise :-)

It's just important that the Judge knows the limits of his knowledge.


[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Ouch - but ...
Authored by: tknarr on Wednesday, November 28 2012 @ 01:49 PM EST

Basically the judge is considered to know the law and the appropriate legal standards. He's allowed to do his own research because he's presumed to be applying the law and the correct legal standards to determine what would be admissible and what wouldn't and to ignore anything that wouldn't be admissible. The jury isn't expected to know the law unless the judge tells them what it is and what the correct standards are, so they're expected to base their decisions only on what the judge and the attorneys for both sides have introduced and not go doing their own research which may or may not comply with the correct legal standards. The jury is permitted to exercise common sense within the framework of what's been presented in the case, they're just required to defer to the judge on what's allowed or required by the law.

The judge normally isn't allowed to rule on matters of fact, only matters of law. Two exceptions to this, which make sense in terms of the general rule. First, the judge can rule on matters of fact if both parties agree to have him do so. Second, he can rule on matters of fact if he can find that no reasonable finder of fact could come to any other conclusion. That's what the judge is doing here: saying that this task is so trivial that there's no way any reasonable person could find it saved Google enough time to make any difference in the outcome. Think of it like a tag in baseball: there's times when it's close enough that you need to look at the slow-motion video to see if the runner got tagged before he touched the base or not, but when the baseman was still 10 feet away when the runner touched base there's just no reasonable way to claim the runner might have been tagged.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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