Google-Funded Niskanen Center Goes to Bat for Tech Giant Against Oracle

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA - MAY 07: Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the 2019 Google I/O conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 07, 2019 in Mountain View, California. The annual Google I/O Conference runs through May 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As Google faces criticism over its collaboration with Apple on Chinese virus “contact tracing,” one of the D.C. think tanks it funds, the Niskanen Center, is coming out in defense of the tech giant against allegations by Oracle, whose lawsuit against Google is headed for the Supreme Court.

Oracle, the tech company that is suing Google for alleged copyright infringement in a suit that will be brought before the Supreme Court, said that the Google-Apple collaboration undermines Google’s own defense.

Oracle VP Ken Glueck told the Washington Times that Google’s decision to relax control of its services in order to work with Apple demonstrated the importance of interoperability, a key point in the case against Google brought by Oracle, which alleges that the company failed to make its version of Oracle’s free Java software interoperable with other platforms.

Google “certainly has a pretty selective view about when interoperability is important,” said Glueck.

The Washington Times also contacted a fellow at the Niskanen Center, a free market D.C. think tank, who offered a full-throated defense of Google.

Via the Washington Times:

Mr. Takash said he does not think the Google-Apple collaboration will affect the Supreme Court case’s outcome. The Niskanen Center has previously filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Google.

“Here’s the scenario I can imagine where Google would undermine its claims in Google v. Oracle: The public health agencies that develop the apps used for the tracing would use the API or some other piece of code owned by Google for their app, and Google would claim copyright infringement and/or demand a licensing fee,” Mr. Takash said in an email.

While the Times noted Niskanen signed an amicus in Google’s favor, what was not mentioned was that the Niskanen Center has received at least two grants of $100,000 from Google., specifically for the think tank’s “Captured Economy” project, one of which appears to have been specifically earmarked for work on intellectual property.

The Captured Economy project is, according to Niskanen’s annual report, run and maintained by Takash, meaning his research is directly funded by Google. His Google-funded papers have called intellectual property a “misnomer,” and its chief policy recommendation was to “eliminate software patents altogether.”

As Breitbart News previously reported, almost all the organizations supporting Google’s amicus briefs in the Oracle case, which includes Niskanen, have been funded by Google.

While the Niskanen Center is not widely known, it has positioned itself as an influential think tank for both libertarians and the “Never Trump” crowd of establishment conservatives.

According to the New York Times:

The Niskanen Center hosts a semimonthly invitation-only gathering of Trump critics called the Meeting of the Concerned, which attendees are asked to keep confidential. While it is attended primarily by a rotating cast of Never Trump Republicans  — including the pundit Mr. Kristol and the former Representative Mickey Edwards — meetings sometimes include a Democrat or two presenting research or analysis on relevant issues. 

While it portrays itself as a free-market think tank, research from the Capital Research Center, which investigates left-wing foundations, has shown it receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from left-wing foundations like George Soros’ Open Society Fund and Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund.

In response to Breitbart’s request for comment, a Niskanen Center spokeswoman highlighted that all of Niskanen’s funding is made public in disclosures, and that more information about the Captured Economy project can be found here.

Are you an insider at Google, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.


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