Judge to Oracle-Google: Settle this Android flap

Judge to Oracle-Google: Settle this Android flap

Summary: As Google and Oracle's lawyers prepare to meet for trial in April, talks of a settlement appear to be back on the table.

TOPICS: Oracle, Android, Google

The drawn-out, patent infringement battle between Oracle and Google finally seems to have a clear path now that there is an official trial start date slated for April 16.

Nevertheless, it looks like higher legal powers still want to give the possibility of a settlement another chance. Lawyers from both sides have been ordered to propose potential dates for a conference settlement to take place before April 9.

This comes after the necessity for a trial became plainly clear as even dragging in CEOs Larry Page and Larry Ellison to court last September couldn’t bring about a settlement.

Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal -- the same judge who presided over the failed settlement talks last fall -- seems to think that there's still a chance to settle out of court anyway.

As a reminder, Oracle is suing Google over Java-related patents and technology that appear on the Android mobile operating system. Yet, how many and which patents have routinely been up for debate, causing inevitable delays for the case.

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."

Oracle hoped to get a trial started last July when the two companies met at the United States Courthouse in San Francisco — only to be scolded by Judge Alsup for not properly specifying which exact patents that Google was allegedly violating.

Just recently, the patent suit was cut down, and it looks like Oracle would be lucky to extract as much as $100 million from Google in this suit.

Alsup assigned a trial start date on Halloween 2011. Just before October 31, Google petitioned Alsup regarding a series of questions that it believed still needed answering, and Alsup responded by delaying the trial to after the end of 2011.

That obviously didn't happen, and the two Silicon Valley giants were actually very close to getting a trial underway as March 19 was announced as the start date back in January.

If the two companies can finally manage to agree upon a settlement by April 9, then a trial might never happen. However, given the storied history of this case already, that seems unlikely.


Topics: Oracle, Android, Google

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  • This judge *really* doesn't want to hear this case

    We have here a couple of deep pocketed companies with good pragmatic reasons to hardline (at least until Oracle's last patent is voided by the USPTO). I think it highly unlikely that another round of settlement talks will be any more productive than the first.

    And if Oracle's patents are as dubious as reported, Google owes it to their stockholders not to settle.
    John L. Ries
  • it's time for oracle to withdraw the lawsuit

    and pay google for the legal expenses incurred.
    We all know that FOSS does not infringe and android was created in a clean room.
    The Linux Geek
    • There's nothing magical about FOSS

      that prevents it from infringing. First of all, Java is currently under the GPL, which is not compatible with Dalvik's Apache 2 license... so any shared code that exists is potentially infringing.

      Lastly, if patents are involved, then the code is irrelevant (unless one of the items is under GPL 3, which neither are.)
  • Judge seems corrupt

    The behaviour of Judge Alsup seems suspicious... why is he hell bent for a settlement if the involved parties are not interested
    • Its common where...

      A judge sees the writing on the wall. Its usually writing that says the complainant is going to win. At least something.

      The concern of the judge is that if it goes to trial and it is a win for the plaintiff/complainant that it can often result in a monetary judgment that may be more than the defendant should really have to pay. Its like a warning, settle this or face the consequences, you may not like them after a trial.

      Its also a decent warning to the plaintiff that if the defendant makes a realistically good offer that it doesn't bode well for a plaintiff to refuse that and go for a full on trial and waste court time where a reasonable offer has been made.

      In short its a warning to all parties that going to trial in the particular situation may hold out a bit of a shock for one or the both parties at the conclusion of trial. When a judge gives this kind of instruction its usually wise for all involved to take it seriously unless one side or the other is holding a real powerful ace in the hole and ends up shocking the judge by the end of trial.

      That usually doesn't happen.

      If this matter isn't settled prior, watch out for the result!
  • It is no about getting 100M

    Damages are not the main issue at stake.
    What Oracle wants is that the judge agrees that copyrights on java API's are violated by Androids app engine.
    With such a verdict in hand Oracle can get an injunction on any Android device and/or Google app market. That could cost Google billions in getting a license. Alternativly they would have to make their engine on new devices incompatible with java API's making all current 500.000 apps using those API's useless on new devices .
  • RE: Judge to Oracle-Google: Settle this Android flap

    To Google: I've seen the email. You failed to license Java.

    To Oracle: $6.1 billion U.S. in damages? LOL!!!!!

    Note to the former Sun Microsystem Java developers employed by Google: [i]Thanks for Java, but, instead of having wasted your time creating bogus patent applications that you passed on to the USPTO (at the same time that the U.S. Congress was taking money from the USPTO cookie jar), I really, REALLY wish you had payed more attention to secure coding. Nice job all! NOT!!![/i]
    Rabid Howler Monkey