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

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.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

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.

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