Oracle might only receive $150,000 in damages from Google

Oracle might only receive $150,000 in damages from Google

Summary: In what was once touted as a $6 billion case, Oracle might end up with only $150,000 in statutory damages.

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TOPICS: Oracle, Google
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle's situation in its intellectual property legal battle against Google is looking more bleak by the day.

At one point in time, Oracle was trying to go after Google with the intent to receive up to $6 billion in damages. Slowly that figure has dwindled down to somewhere around $1 billion and then a few hundred million.

Now, it looks like Oracle could end up with just $150,000 -- if anything at all given that the threat of a mistrial looms and we're still in the middle of the second phase of the trial covering patent infringement.

Judge William Alsup warned Oracle at the U.S. District Court of Northern California on Thursday morning that the "most" the plaintiff might end up with is statutory damages over the nine lines of code in the rangeCheck method -- the only item on the verdict form during phase one of the trial in which the jury found Google's conceded use was copyright infringement.

"The fact that they have nine lines out of many millions, you have no damage study tied in," Alsup exclaimed to Oracle.

Although it is up to the jury to determine damages, the maximum limit for statutory damages is $150,000.

Alsup suggested they "might want to find a way to streamline for some dollar amount," hinting they should try to negotiate a settlement in order to avoid a long third phase of the trial dedicated to determining damages.

Nevertheless, all of this is still to be determined as Google has filed a motion for the copyrights phase of the trial to be declared a mistrial. The judge has not ruled on that issue yet.

Even if Google had to fork over $150,000, it could still be a huge win for the Internet giant considering how much Oracle originally wanted.

In regards to the patents part of the lawsuit -- which as Groklaw described as a "roll of the dice for both parties" -- Google put up a better offer in April for up to $2.8 million in damages over two patents in question. Furthermore, Google also offered a deal of 0.5 percent from Android revenue for one patent through December 2012 and 0.015 percent on a second patent through April 2018. The catch is that this offer was only a stipulation for damages if (and only if) Oracle prevails on patent infringement.

Oracle reportedly rejected it.

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Topics: Oracle, Google

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62 comments
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  • Hope that covers costs of your Lawyers for one day Oracle

    Improve our products, utilize and integrate the companies we bought due to our incredible appetite for acquisitions?

    Naw, let's sue Google, they got money right.

    Doesn't surprise me that all their technologies have equal or better Open Source equivalents. I just can't understand why we still pay them.
    mwacky
    • why we still pay them?

      - Legacy systems
      - Corporate DBAs who can't bother to learn anything out of their comfort zone.
      vgrig
      • laziness pervades most companies

        and so new and better ways of doing things are looked down upon.

        I asked our resident neck beards if they would consider rewriting their crappy Java programs in C#...boy that didnt go over well.
        otaddy
      • dba's are data base administrators

        they support database servers. What do you mean by 'can't be bothered to learn somehting new'? If the back end of the production system is in Oracle, how a server support guy's desire to learn something new will change it?
        I bet you never met a real dba - corporate or otherwise. Do not throw accusations around about things you do not understand.
        ForeverSPb
    • contingency fees?

      If so, Oracle's lawyers could expect 1/3 of that juicy 150K award. I figure that works out to less than US$3 per billable hour, not even close to minimum wage. It is to weep (with pleasure if you're not a lawyer).
      hrlngrv 
      • LOL!

        You think Oracle's lawyers are on contingency? That's hilarious. These guys are definitely on retainer. Which is fine. The lawyers are just TOOLS. Oracle should foot the bill.
        tkejlboom
    • Oracle makes me sick....

      Oracle is the bully of the tech industry. They make me sick. Glad that a judge is standing up to these guys and telling them things that are just common sense. Oracle, you ended up where you are because you were the first to have a decent enterprise database. Stop your nonsense and start focusing on making better products and enabling the technology your gobble up!
      zd@...
  • BIOS..

    Remember back in the 80s? When there were IBM machines and that was about it? Then the 100% IBM compatible machines slowly emerged? Those machines? Clean-room reverse-engineered BIOS'. Imagine if back then IBM could copyright the API to the BIOS? Today we would be very poorer for it as there would still only be IBM machines and little else. All this competitiveness which very arguably has resulted in much better machines themselves? Would never have happened.
    BP314
    • Forgetting history...

      When IBM created the PC, it was operating under the 1956 consent decree, which was only lifted in 1996. Copyrighting a major interface would have brought the Justice Department down on them like a ton of bricks. I was working for Raytheon Data Systems in 1981-83: we were building IBM-compatible terminal systems for the airlines, and IBM was required to provide us with every API and protocol spec we asked for...
      geoffarnold
      • it's amazing how many awesome laws were

        repealed during the Clinton era.
        tatiGmail
      • laws needed today

        To undue the damage caused by laws created in previous years.

        what a mess....
        otaddy
      • Re: It's amazing how many awesome laws were repealed during the Clinton era

        Especially when you consider how busy Clinton was with his interns...
        :-)
        T-Wrench
    • It is a different world now.

      I still remember when I thought IBM and their micro channel architecture would rule the day back in late 80s. Heck, we would still be back in DOS if M$ had not been here to do the development. OK, so they stole GUI/mouse from Apple. Now we are here with the open source (free access) world at risk due to the greed of corps.
      droidfromsd
      • Nobody actually invents anything: standing on shoulders of giants..

        And Apple stole the GUI/Mouse from Xerox PARC..!
        BP314
      • @BP314

        [b]And Apple stole the GUI/Mouse from Xerox PARC..![/b]

        No Apple did NOT steal the GUI/Mouse from Xerox PARC - they licensed it from Xerox in exchange for Apple stock options.
        NonFanboy
        • but...

          ...did MSFT steal WIMP from Apple or from Xerox? Gotta figure someone at MSFT would have heard of Xerox PARC prior to the Lisa going into production.
          hrlngrv 
      • No

        NonFanboy

        Apple gave Xerox the stock options and agreed to 'license' what they took from Xerox only after Xerox threatened them with a lawsuit, the stock options were part of what Apple gave to Xerox as part of the settlement. Apple 'licensed' only by force.
        Doctor Demento
      • Source material regarding myth of Apple and Xerox PARC

        "Fact: Apple obtained permission ahead of the Xerox PARC visit. In addition, Apple provided compensation in exchange for the various Xerox PARC ideas such as the GUI."

        Source: "Myth: Copyright Theft, Apple Stole GUI from Xerox PARC Alto", Mar 10, 2010
        Falkirk
      • No license, no stock options

        @nonfanboy Xerox let Jobs look at their work on interfaces. Jobs allowed Xerox to purchase some Apple stock (tightly held back then).
        That's all. No license, nothing paid.
        radleym
      • Jobs was a great Artist

        "Good artists copy great artists steal." Steve Jobs

        Of course they dont like it when you "steal" from them.
        mpg72770@...