U.S. judge scolds Oracle and Google at Android IP hearing

U.S. judge scolds Oracle and Google at Android IP hearing

Summary: Oracle came in hoping for a trial. Google came in hoping for a stay. All they got were stern lectures from the judge without an answer about where the case goes next.

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TOPICS: Oracle, Google
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle came in hoping for a trial as soon as possible. Google came in hoping for a stay. All they got were stern lectures from the judge without a response to their joint motion filed this week.

For a hearing on a sunny Thursday afternoon, there was a considerable crowd in the courtroom at the United States Courthouse in San Francisco with at least a few dozen people looking on behind Google and Oracle's legal teams with four to five lawyers each.

Google's argument centered on the claim that Oracle has completely failed to link the value of its patents and copyrights with any kind of damages. Additionally, Google's lawyers repeatedly discussed Google's relationship with Sun Microsystems, the original force behind Java 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."

Basically, Google is saying if it wasn't a problem with the creator at the time, then there isn't a case for patent infringement.

However, Google backtracked to say that Android does not use Java Virtual Machine but rather just the programming language that is available for anyone to use for free.

Oracle stepped in and argued that Google basically just took the Java architecture and renamed it. Oracle's legal team also put forth their opinion that Google’s argument seems to be that the damages should be zero in this case.

Fortunately for Oracle, Judge William H. Alsup agreed with Oracle on this point, saying that such a claim would be ridiculous, and that Google is definitely going to pay up "probably in the millions, maybe in the billions" at some point.

However, that's where the judge's favor ended. Along with ordering both sides to "be more reasonable," Alsup got angry after Oracle passed out several binders containing evidence, mainly email messages that Oracle intended to use to reflect that Google was trying to figure out how to get around Java patent licenses. The judge was upset because Oracle's lawyers tried to keep some of the info under wraps even though it was presented at a public hearing, reminding both parties that "you big companies do not own the U.S. District Court."

But when it comes down to it, Oracle really screwed up because it couldn't present exact patents and evidence of infringement upon them, with estimates ranging from seven to 50 to 123.

Considering Google kept contradicting itself and Oracle didn't seem as prepared as it should have been, it's not surprising that Judge Alsup didn't offer any resolution on Thursday. This tech courtroom drama will continue for a long time.

Another twist in the case on Thursday: Florian Mueller reported that Oracle is stepping up its $2.6 billion claims to cut in on Android-related, non-mobile businesses owned by Google. Thus, advertising. It's a long shot, but not impossible as Judge Alsup did acknowledge during the proceeding that advertising revenues are a way to determine Android's value. Oracle could end up with triple whatever base amount is finalized (Google even acknowledges it could be between $1.4 and $6.1 billion) if the Judge finds that Google willingly and knowingly infringed upon Oracle's patents.

More coverage about Google vs. Oracle:

Topics: Oracle, Google

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54 comments
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  • mega bucks for the lawyers

    We all know who the winners are! In my view all civil court actions should be fought without any legal representation - a shedload of money would be saved (and I mean totally ban lawyers from working in civil law with each party required to put up a responsible person such as the MD to argue the case in less than 1 day - this fiasco is needed just about as much as the financial traders!
    cymru999
    • Sigh. These are not trial lawyers who earn a percentage

      of the settlement, these are corporate lawyers kept on retainer by the various companies and who work for a flat rate.
      fr_gough
      • RE: Google will owe millions, maybe billions, to Oracle no matter what

        @fr_gough
        +1
        Ram U
      • What's the "sigh" about?

        @fr_gough <br><br>I don't see anything in cymru999's post that indicated he was talking about percentages on the damages. Both companies will pay millions in billable hours to their retained lawyers for this case.<br><br>Regardless of the outcome of this trial, the lawyers win big.
        rtk
    • RE: Google will owe millions, maybe billions, to Oracle no matter what

      @cymru999 Yea, we don't need financial traders or lawyers! Why do we need experts at all??

      Lawyers are there for a reason. They know the law and they help their party achieve justice by helping people navigate the complex legal system. Getting rid of lawyers isn't going to make the legal system any easier.
      vel0city
  • Disclaimer: Florian Mueller has no provenance

    h-t-t-p://madhatter.ca/2011/01/26/the-provenance-of-florian-muller/

    The facts, as always, are in plain sight at Groklaw:

    "Stay or Not to Stay, That is the Question"

    h-t-t-p://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110721125919422

    Read Up!
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
    • Im no fan of Florian but Groklaw has a bias too

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
      otaddy
    • Groklaw is irrelevant

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate

      Their bias is obvious, which invalidates anything that they say. The facts to which you speak, in the end, are never the same facts to which the rest of the world has.

      But then Groklaw never let an issue like facts stand in the way of their imagination.
      Tim Cook
      • RE: Google will owe millions, maybe billions, to Oracle no matter what

        @Mister Spock Groklaw has gone on record saying they didn't see any patent infringement and here Oracle expects to get billions without naming a specific patent! Seriously, I am inclined to agree with Groklaw here and honestly I hadn't read a single article of theirs until last week!
        slickjim
      • RE: Google will owe millions, maybe billions, to Oracle no matter what

        @Mister Spock
        So far groklaw predicted every outcome correctly, so it must be very objective.
        Linux Geek
      • Shall we apply your logic to your own statements?

        <i>"Their bias is obvious, which invalidates anything that they say."</i>

        Sauce for the goose, etc.

        But Groklaw doesn't just provide opinions; it also provides <b>documents</b> so that people can make up their own minds. By all means, please point out any documents on Groklaw that you believe not to be "bona fide" genuine.

        <i>"But then Groklaw never let an issue like facts stand in the way of their imagination."</i>

        This statement is so blatantly false, it's practically libel. Groklaw was <b>dead right</b> about SCO from the very beginning, a <i>fact</i> you deliberately and persistently ignore in a most <i>non</i>-Vulcan fashion. So what does this say about <b>you</b> and your bias?
        Zogg
      • Haven't being to Growklaw in a while .. haven't you?

        @Zogg Growklaw is no longer the great website that PJ created. After she left all that great work and balanced bias that she provided left with her.

        The new guy editing the site does NOTHING to provide any documentation backing his very bias opinions (because they are no longer analysis). On top of that, his writings are mostly in legalize, instead of human words.

        The quality of the work in Groklaw was because of Pamela Jones (PJ). Ever since she started letting others publish their opinions, the site has gone down from an excellent written articles to highly bias FSF propaganda crap.
        wackoae
      • Interesting... and also progress...

        @wackoae<br>Thank you, at the very least for putting that Fake Vulcan's words in the Romulan light in which they belong. But I would also point out that the Oracle/Google litigation began in August 2010, whereas PJ left Groklaw only in May 2011:<br><br><a href="http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=OracleGoogle" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=OracleGoogle</a><br><br>By all means, please point out any article written by PJ which believes that Oracle actually has a case.

        (And GOOD HEAVENS, what a lot of documents added to the Google/Oracle timeline in the post-PJ era! I wonder how THAT happened? And why you didn't notice...?)
        Zogg
      • This is a good link...

        Looks like Sun knew exactly what Google was doing all along, and had no problem with it:

        http://web.archive.org/web/20101023072550/http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/entry/congratulations_google
        Zogg
    • RE: Google will owe millions, maybe billions, to Oracle no matter what

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate
      I see no difference between you, Groklaw, Florian and TechRights and Linux Geek. Why should we believe your word and read Groklaw expecting it is not biased, when you are totally biased against Commerical Software?
      Ram U
    • On this case, groklaw has been 100% wrong on predictions

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate

      And you still bring up the ridiculous madhatter attempt at FUD?
      Bruizer
  • this judge is incompetent

    this judge is clueless about java and it looks like he's a drone hired by the Axis of evil software(Oracle, M$ & Apple), same as Florian Muller, the lame patent lawyer.
    Linux Geek
    • Why? Because you dont like his ruling?

      @Linux Geek It's true that the entire US govt is corrupt and incompetent--and the judicial branch is no exception--but let's face it, Google is going to get fleeced.

      Expect all the toys and goodies at Google offices to be removed soon. Playtime is over.
      otaddy
      • RE: Google will owe millions, maybe billions, to Oracle no matter what

        @otaddy <br>If this corrupt judge hands it over to Eli$$on, Google will prevail on appeal. If I were google I would ask for this judge to be removed and replaced with an honest one.
        Linux Geek
      • RE: Google will owe millions, maybe billions, to Oracle no matter what

        @Linux Geek
        Can you prove this judge is corrupted? Do you have any valid evidence other than clueless techrights rants? If so please, otherwise be prepared for a defamation suit by that judge. :-)
        Ram U