Court Tosses Some Oracle Damage Claims on Android

Posted by at 4:28 pm on December 6, 2011

Judge William Alsup on Tuesday threw out some of Oracle’s damage claims against Google for allegedly violating Java copyrights and patents with Android. He gave an initial favor to five of Google’s eight objections for a tentative order that would go ahead unchanged on December 20 if there were no objections. Among the objections were potentially broad strokes in lumping all patents together for damages.

Alsup instead wanted Oracle to narrow its claims to individual patents and even individual claims within those patents. The database giant would only see broad applications if Google was found innocent of violating a particular claim, in which case the entire patent was worth that one non-infringed patent.

The judge also noted that Microsoft’s 2004 settlement with Sun couldn’t be used as a precedent.

Google could still face a significant penalty or even a product ban. The company has admitted there might be patent trouble and has been spending most of its pre-trial defense trying to minimize damage. Oracle believes not just that Google knowingly used Java in Android without permission but that its modification of Java for Android’s custom just-in-time engine was breaking Java.

A trial doesn’t start until 2012, but Oracle and Google may pursue a settlement if pre-trial rulings lead them to think they can’t get a better deal.

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