Google and Oracle continue to bicker over whether their courtroom battle over whether Android infringes on Java patents, but there's at least a hint that the search giant may want to settle out of court.
The two parties filed a joint response focusing on whether their trial should be stayed as Oracle's patent standing is resolved. Not surprisingly, Google wants a stay. Oracle wants to go to trial without a stay so it can pelt Google with every patent it has. Florian Mueller has the recap of the stay issue and the Oracle and Google back and forth.
However, the one line that caught Mueller's eye is the passage below. The document is embedded via Scribd below.
Indeed, should this case be narrowed to only a few claims modified in the course of the reexamination, any damages claim would be materially limited by, among other things, the doctrine of intervening rights. Such a narrowed case will also eliminate the need for those efforts specifically directed at the claims rejected through reexamination, including motion practice, expert reports, and other trial preparation, as well as make it more likely that the parties could reach an informal resolution of the matter. In short, both parties and the Court would benefit from a stay pending reexamination.
Informal resolution? Google appears to be willing to pass a few billion to resolve this IP nightmare.
In principle, it's constructive if a party indicates a willingness to settle. But there's a fundamental difference between negotiating in private and letting the court (as well as the public) know -- more than three months before the scheduled trial (!) -- that one isn't so sure of one's defenses anymore. This stands in clear contradiction to Google's past positions and declarations, and it looks increasingly like an admission all by itself. Discovery is almost complete, and it probably didn't go too well for Google.
In other words, Oracle clearly has Google in the crosshairs. Oracle argued that the case needs to be resolved quickly because Android is gaining share and the infringement will only get worse. The possible outcomes go like this:
- The judge decides on a stay and the two parties may settle.
- The judge agrees with Oracle and this lawsuit goes to trial. A good scenario for Oracle.
- Oracle sees that "informal resolution" remark and the two parties start talking.
- Oracle looks for Page pyrotechnics in Google Android lawsuit
- Google pans Oracle damages argument: Java was fragmented well before Android