Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

Summary: The ongoing volley of court filings between Oracle and Google continues and it's clear that the software giant wants billions of dollars in Android damages. Here's a look at Oracle's key advantages in its lawsuit.

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The ongoing volley of court filings between Oracle and Google continues and it's clear that the software giant wants billions of dollars in Android damages. When you examine some of the moving parts Oracle looks like it just may get what it wants.

Google earlier this week in a court document ripped Oracle's expert witness and maintained that the company shouldn't get a piece of Android-related ad revenue. Oracle fired back with another filing saying that Google is redacting too much in a move to misrepresent the situation. The key element in Oracle's latest filing is that Google was trying to hide "references to the fact that Oracle damages claims in this case are in the billions of dollars."

Whatever the merits of Oracle's lawsuit against Google it's hard to not notice that the plaintiff has some key advantages. Given that Google has an ongoing revenue stream there's a lot at stake in this upcoming trial to determine if Android violates Java patents. In the end, Oracle's $1.3 billion in damages against SAP may look like chump change.

Among Oracle's key advantages: Patents. JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens noted that Oracle "carries a big stick in patent litigation." Why? Oracle has a ton of patents---many acquired through the Sun acquisition. Walravens wrote:

We estimate that Oracle has over 20,000 patents. A review of the patent office’s database suggests that Oracle is the assignee for over 12,000 patents in its own name, along with over 7,000 for Sun Microsystems and over 1,000 for its various acquisitions (including PeopleSoft, Siebel and Agile, among others). In comparison, Google is the assignee for only 689 patents.

That Google disadvantage is why the company is trying to buy Nortel's patent portfolio.

The legal team. Oracle is using David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. That's the legal team that won Oracle $1.3 billion from SAP. Oracle's second law firm in the Oracle vs. Google case is Morrison & Foerster, which has Michael Jacobs as lead attorney. Jacobs helped Apple defeat a patent infringement lawsuit in summary judgment.

Oracle isn't intimidated. One long-time tech watcher said yesterday that "Oracle thinks it can sue all of its competition into oblivion." Given the SAP win, it's only logical that Oracle would continue to run a winning play.

The return on investment motive. When Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, Java was one of the crown jewels---even though the software was never really monetized. At the time, Oracle's acquisition of Sun's Java looked like it was more a matter of controlling its own software destiny. Oracle's middleware is largely Java based. But let's say that Oracle gets a nice round number in damages out of Google like $2 billion and then ongoing payments for Android devices. Oracle paid $5.6 billion for Sun net of cash and debt. Simply put, if this Android lawsuit bounces Oracle's way the company could recoup half its outlay for the Sun acquisition.

You'd think that Google and its nearly unlimited resources would win most lawsuits. The difference this time is Google is facing an equally well-heeled foe with a bit of an attitude.

Related: Google pans Oracle damages argument: Java was fragmented well before Android

Topics: Android, Banking, Enterprise Software, Google, Oracle

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122 comments
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  • But what exactly are they claiming?

    I'm just short on understanding how Oracle is positioning itself to receive ongoing ad revenue from some piece of Java being used on a mobile OS.

    Oracle has/had no plans to release a mobile OS and is just patent trolling at this point. This is a classic case of one company profiting through litigation instead of profiting through innovation. Such crap.
    toddwshaffer
    • I agree

      @toddwshaffer
      Oracle should stop the litigation and apologise!
      Linux Geek
      • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

        @Linux Geek Google should drop Dalvik, apologize, and pay up.
        Champ_Kind
      • Boycott Oracle

        They have become patent trolls and are anti OpenSource that they "supported" in the past.<br><br>I for one, will not use / recommend or accept any Oracle products again.<br><br>Regarding Google / they should drop Dalvik and use something else. They've had time to do so. I for one would not invest anymore effort in anything Oracle has its fingers on. That includes Java... Oracle can keep it. In fact Ill pay MS for .NET over Java from here on.<br><br>Google did not sell or fragment Java, that was done by Sun. So the basis of punitive damages that Oracle searches are not within reasonable scope, though court decisions sometimes aren't reasonable. Google's liability will be proven false or true though their value will probably be based on the value amount of the Damage .. and thats not in the Billions or even hundreds of millions. Google should pay their fine and drop anything that Oracle supports.<br><br>Finally.. as Swapnil Bhartiya clearly states:<br><br>...court is asking Oracle to drop 129 claims out of 132? Even when the validity of the remaining 3 patents is to be proven...<br><br>Oracle doesn't have much to ride on, and they have lost against Libre Office, Apache and others. <br><br>I am not lawyer, but as consumer its obvious it makes simple business sense to stay away from Oracle and any of it products.
        Uralbas
      • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

        @Linux Geek <br>I won't stay on the patents, the fact of the matter is that Oracle claim that their source code can be found inside the android code. Since then Android may have tried to change it etc but there is evidence for that. This is much stronger than any patent. Source code is not free, as you know, and you can't use it as you please. In that case, I'll just grab all the source code from my company and go and open my own company. If you get caught of course they will sue you to oblivion, that's fair.
        panoslondon1
      • Champ_Kind, you Moron...

        @Champ_Kind Your complete & utter support here would suggest you have interests in Oracle. The only thing Oracle is interested in is stealing money without doing anything for it. SCUM company...
        alfielee@...
      • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

        @alfielee@... How does your statement vary from his other than being on the opposite side? The courts will determine who is right and who is wrong here. I won't make a claim as I don't know enough details to do so and I am sure most here don't either. Unfortunately most people base their comments on either their love or their hate for Google, not the facts.
        non-biased
    • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

      @toddwshaffer The only problem in your statement is JavaFx. Yeah, it sucks and all that. But they did have a competing product which they can claim did not take off the ground because of such balant code ripoff from Google
      browser.
      • code ripoff

        @browser.
        Code ripoff? What has that to do with patents?
        bezoeker
      • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

        @bezoeker - PATENTED CODE.
        Champ_Kind
    • From your thought process then...

      @toddwshaffer

      If you design a windshield wiper system that has really unique innovations, GM and Ford can steal your idea without compensation if you don't plan to make a car?

      In your world, there are no makers of widgets, just complete systems?
      Bruizer
      • Nice analogy, but I suspect most people don't

        realize you are citing an actual event that really happened.
        fr_gough
      • Actually

        @Bruizer Kearns was producing a wiper system....
        The whole car analogy is hyperbole.
        happyharry_z
      • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

        @happyharry_z actually, quite a lot can be made of the Kearns example. Ford unsucessfully tried to argue that the intermittent windshield was nothing new and was obvious. Google will, invariably, make the same sort of arguments against Oracle.

        However, unlike the proverbial David v Goliath trial that Kearns went through, Oracle has the skills and resources to match Google's ad-funded legal defense.
        Your Non Advocate
      • @happyharry_z: And Sun had an embedded software development system.

        @happyharry_z

        I fail to see the difference you are trying to show. There is none. What constitutes a "system" is only differentiated by where you draw the boundaries.
        Bruizer
      • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

        @todd

        Do you know that the patent for automotive windshield wipers was a big income producer?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windscreen_wiper
        mswift@...
    • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

      @toddwshaffer

      "Oracle has/had no plans to release a mobile OS"

      Has nothing to do with the fact Google violated their patents. (Let the court rule on that) Futher, you have no idea what Oracle may or may not do a few years down the road.
      NoAxToGrind
      • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

        @NoAxToGrind Sure we do, just like all their buys they will screw it up and drive it into the ground. They are the worst company in tech, bar none. Everything they have touched is now trash.
        timspublic1@...
      • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

        @NoAxToGrind You're right but they didn't violate Oracles patents. That's the problem with your statement. Oracle may crap butterflies down the road. But it makes no difference, because Ellison is just another dirtbag Bill Gates. He's sued his way to the top. This time he's up against a company just as powerful as his. I don't think Google will throw in the towel on this one.
        blueskip
    • RE: Oracle wants billions from Google over Android: And just might get it

      @toddwshaffer
      "Oracle has/had no plans to release a mobile OS and is just patent trolling at this point. This is a classic case of one company profiting through litigation instead of profiting through innovation. Such crap. "

      They don't need to make a OS of any kind to take this to court. That's the problem with patents but that's also how the system works to their advantage.
      Classic94