Google has been denied a request to have Oracle's case against it summarily dismissed.
The two companies have been engaged in legal sparring since August 2010 when Oracle filed a lawsuit alleging that Google had infringed on patents and copyrights held by the company in its implementation of the Google Android operating system.
Google requested the motion for dismissal on 16 February on the basis that "the issues are ripe and can be decided without further discovery as a matter of law, thereby simplifying the issues and conserving resources".
However, Oracle filed a counter-motion attempting to block the request, and on Friday US district judge William Alsup ruled that Google could not have the case dismissed before further investigation into Oracle's claims is carried out.
"The motion is not ripe because discovery may well reveal additional evidence of copying," Alsup said. "Oracle's copyright-infringement contentions, which are the target of Google's proposed motion, represent only a snapshot of our case taken at the time they were submitted."
The motion is not ripe because discovery may well reveal additional evidence of copying. – Judge William Alsup
Alsup said summary dismissal was inappropriate for the case. "Having considered both parties' submissions, this order finds that good cause has not been shown to engage in a summary judgement battle at this time. Google's request is denied without prejudice to renewal after a more complete evidentiary record has been developed through discovery," he ordered on Friday.
Oracle's counter-motion also brought the number of alleged Google copyright infringements into question. Google had previously stated that Oracle was claiming "literal copying" on only 12 files.
"The magnitude of Google's copying is already disputed. Each of Oracle's 51 identified API packages in this case — nearly one-third of Oracle's Java packages — contains numerous class files, each of which is protectable by copyright," said the filing. "Thus, contrary to Google's 'we only took a little bit' argument, Google derived its Android code from the specifications for hundreds of Oracle's copyrighted Java files."
Oracle also said that it expected to find more evidence of copying during the discovery process and noted that "some of Google's Android developers previously worked for Sun or had access to proprietary Oracle materials".
On 15 February, Google requested that some of the patents that Oracle is asserting be re-examined. However, while this would prolong the trial process, it could not resolve the copyright allegations, Scott Daniels, a lawyer at Westerman, Hattori, Daniels & Adrian LLP, said in a recent blog post.
Contrary to Google's 'we only took a little bit' argument, Google derived its Android code from the specifications for hundreds of Oracle's copyrighted Java files. – Oracle filing
"Even if Google somehow managed to stall the current court case, Oracle could always step up the pressure in some other ways," Florian Mueller, founder of the NoSoftwarePatents campaign, said in a blog post on Tuesday. "For example, Oracle could file ITC complaints that might result in import bans against major Android device makers within 16 to 18 months.
"Furthermore, Oracle could elect to sue Google in other jurisdictions, just like Apple and Nokia are duking it out not only in the US but also in three European countries. Some of the patents Oracle asserts against Google have Chinese, Japanese and European counterparts," Mueller added.