Google, Oracle going to trial as settlement talks collapse

Google, Oracle going to trial as settlement talks collapse

Summary: After trying to give an out-of-court settlement one last chance, it is definite that Google and Oracle will now go to trial.

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It's on: Google and Oracle are set to go to trial two weeks from today now that a last-ditch attempt at a settlement has failed.

Last week, Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal asked both parties to give settlement talks another chance, with a decision required by April 9. Even though they had another week, it must have been clear that a settlement just isn't in the cards.

Google did propose an offer that included a cut of Android's revenue stream through 2018, which was a stipulation for damages if (and only if) Oracle prevails on patent infringement.

Grewal — the same judge who presided over similarly failed settlement talks last fall — issued a memo on Monday explained that "the parties have reached an irreconcilable impasse in their settlement discussions with the undersigned," and that "no further conferences shall be convened."

Even more simply, Grewal wrote "in the end, some cases just need to be tried."

He also wished them both "good luck" when Google and Oracle's legal teams meet up at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco in front of Judge William H. Alsup on April 16.

This latest turn of events is just one of many in the patent infringement battle between Oracle and Google.

Oracle is suing Google over Java-related patents and technology that appear on the Android mobile operating system. Google’s lawyers have repeatedly responded by discussing Google’s relationship with Sun Microsystems, Java’s creator now owned by Oracle. Google argued that Sun was a big fan of Android from the start, seeing it as a tool to “spread news and word about Java.”

Since last July, there have been a number of delays to getting a trial underway with proposed failed start dates in October 2011 and March 2012.

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Topics: Google, Enterprise Software, Legal, Oracle

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37 comments
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  • it's all Oracle's fault

    because Larry Eli$$on did not accept Google's very generous offer for claims that will be found baseless at trial.
    The Linux Geek
    • It is...

      Since when is it okay that Oracle should just accept anything thrown their way. It should be agreed upon by both parties. Just because Google agreed with their idea doesn't give them the right to steal the code line by line without getting a legal document from Sun/Oracle first.
      rpollard1
      • Oracle should be sued for promissory estoppel

        for failing to deliver on the promise of open sourcing Java code by not abiding the GPL license.
        Google is generous for not suing Oracle on that count too!
        The Linux Geek
  • Google "Don't be evil", well unless we can make more money.

    "Google argued that Sun was a big fan of Android from the start, seeing it as a tool to ???spread news and word about Java.???'

    Even if the above assertion was true it does not give you the right to pilfer someone else???s IP!

    Google will lose this case if that is their best defense..
    On-the-edge
    • yeah, gosh who would have thought they were going to trial

      I still say Google's gonna end up talking deal.
      otaddy
    • Depends

      This is also about reverse engineering-something LEGAL in the USA. That's how the PC industry got started...if Oracle's lawyers can phrase it right they might get some sympathy but Florian Mueller saying it will cost billions is long gone and he's not a patent expert anyway.
      DonRupertBitByte
  • Google will lose

    But it wont be too bad. We're talking a verdict in the mid-to-high hundreds of millions. Not quite so called chump change, but not game-changing for companies this size. That's my prediction.
    x I'm tc
    • Even if Oracle has maybe two patents left?

      ...after the USPTO voided the others Oracle was claiming?

      That seem a bit high to me.

      Personally, I think that Google should move for dismissal on the grounds that the Patent Act specifically disallows patents on algorithms and then pursue the issue all the way to the Supreme Court. After all, they might win, and we'd all be better off.

      Reply to Rabid Howler Monkey:

      Actually, it was a Federal Circuit decision that compelled the USPTO to start granting software patents. My understanding is that the Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue.
      John L. Ries
      • That would be so cool....

        But not likely :(
        rhonin
      • RE: Even if Oracle has maybe two patents left?

        [i]Google should move for dismissal on the grounds that the Patent Act specifically disallows patents on algorithms and then pursue the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.[/i]

        Software patents, the Supreme Court giveth and the Supreme Court can taketh away. The U.S. courts are the most likely place for the current software patent insanity to be fixed.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Algorithms Smalgorithms

        It's about copying code line by line. Develop a game changing software product and have someone steal your code. Then let's see how sympathetic you are toward the thieves.
        rpollard1
      • Reply to John L. Ries

        [i]Actually, it was a Federal Circuit decision that compelled the USPTO to start granting software patents. My understanding is that the Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue.[/i]

        See Diamond v. Diehr, 1981:

        http://www.bitlaw.com/source/cases/patent/Diamond_v_Diehr.html
        Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Google is the pirate king.

    There is no need for a judge or a jury. Everybody knows who stole what. Google and Sun may have been friends in old days, but that doesn't matter unless its signed on paper. Google was too greedy or incompetant to make that mistake and will pay the price.
    No tears shed for google, Java was Sun's boy and its now Oracle's.
    owllnet
    • Yep, and Sun was stupid with monetizing their assets

      and look where they are now. McNeely and Jonathan with bags of money, most of the remaining staff out looking for work.

      We'll see how "open" java really is.
      otaddy
      • RE: Yep, and Sun was stupid with monetizing their assets

        Sun was caught between a rock and a hard place and Google knew it. Sun, at the time, was attempting to woo the open-source community with various open-source projects (OpenSolaris, OpenOffice, GlassFish, Netbeans, Java SE, etc). And while Jonathon Schwartz wrote happy blogs about Google and Java, other senior Sun managers (i.e., the senior VP for software) were quite unhappy with Google's Dalvik.

        [i]most of the remaining staff out looking for work.[/i]

        More than a few ex-Sun Java devs ended up at Google. Perhaps many of the same ones that submitted bogus Java patent applications to the USPTO (at the same time that the U.S. Congress was raiding the USPTO's cookie jar 'cause they needed more money to stuff down their rat holes).
        Rabid Howler Monkey
    • No need for judge or jury?

      What, then, do you suggest? A lynch mob?
      John L. Ries
    • A verbal contract is still a contract.

      From what I have read online, the glowing statement from Sun's own website about Google using Java to develop Android should be more than enough to show that Sun knew and approved the whole thing. I am no expert, but I think Oracle's case is going down!
      mlashinsky
  • In a hurry, but shortcuts can be costly

    Google were originally working on a 'blackberry' type phone and even demoed or released images of their proposed gadget.

    Then Eric Smidt, while on Apple's board saw the prototype iPhone and realised Google had to match that.

    In their haste to make a touch screen phone with apps, they took huge shortcuts, including copying large chunks of Oracle's Java code. Google managed to get something out to compete with the iPhone, and grabbed a big chunk of market share.

    Unfortunately, stealing Oracle's IP will come back to haunt them. It remains up to the courts whether this will be a small rap on the knuckles or a hefty financial punishment.
    Gromit1704
    • Please point out these "large chunks of Oracle's Java code"

      Bearing in mind that the Java language itself is in the public domain, and that Project Harmony was released under an Apache licence.
      Zogg
      • RE: the Java language itself is in the public domain

        [b][i]Most[/i][/b], but not all, of Java SE was open-sourced. Java ME was not open-sourced. And neither Sun nor Oracle 'blessed' Apache's Harmony project (see references to the Java compatibility test tools). Oracle, with IBM's help, killed Harmony.

        And it was Harmony that Google dipped into for Dalvik.
        Rabid Howler Monkey