Oracle v Google

Oracle Seeks £753m Damages In Android Java Case

Oracle is now seeking £753m in damages from Google in its Java patent infringement case against Android

On by Tom Jowitt 0

Oracle and Google remain at loggerheads over Larry Ellison’s claim that Oracle suffered an estimated $1.16 billion (£753m) in damages because of Android’s alleged misuse of Java’s patents and copyrights.

On Wednesday 21 September, US Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal ordered Larry Ellison and Larry Page to return to the US District Judge in San Jose, California, after the companies failed to agree on a settlement during a day-long meeting on 19 September.

But despite bringing the two CEOs back to the negiotating table, it seems on the surface that the two sides still failed to reach an agreement.

Reduced Damages

And it has now emerged that Oracle is seeking $1.16 billion, not $2.2billion from Google. It is basing that figure on a report by Boston University business professor Iain Cockburn, who calculated that Oracle is owed $202 million (£131m) for the patent infringements and $960 million (£624m) for copyright infringements.

Oracle had originally been seeking to extract a truly colossal $6.1 billion (£3.9bn) in damages from Google, but that damage claim was rejected by the US District court on 22 July.

Google, however, is disputing the findings of Iain Cockburn, and maintains that if it owes anything, it should be no more than $100 million (£63m).

Oracle began its lawsuit against Google back in August 2010, alleging that Android infringed Java patents that Oracle had acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems last year. It also alleged copyright infringement.

The case is set to go to trial on 31 October before US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco.

Oracle Letter

According to Reuters, Oracle lawyer Steven Holtzman wrote a letter to Judge Alsup in which he said the revised damages estimate includes as much as $202 million for patent infringement, and as much as $960 million for copyright infringement.

He urged the judge to deny Google’s request to exclude parts of Cockburn’s report from the case.

Whatever happens, it seems likely that Google will have to hand over some payment to Oracle. At least that is the view of Florian Mueller, an intellectual-property analyst who has closely watched this case.

“Google’s chances of getting out of this lawsuit unscathed are rather slim. Oracle probably wouldn’t win a trial on all counts, but it’s highly likely to win on at least some of them, and quite probably the counts on which Oracle would prevail would be powerful enough,” he wrote in a 19 September blog post.

“However, Google has to think about the implications of any settlement of this particular litigation for its overall business,” he added.

“I believe there’s a reasonable chance that Larry Page will show the strong leadership he’s demonstrated since taking over the helm and make Larry Ellison an offer too good to refuse: a ton of money in exchange for a perpetual license,” wrote Mueller.

Appeal Danger

Mueller also warned in a later blog posting that Google is taking a risk by not settling now.

However Oracle will also realise that appeals judges tend to dramatically reduce any damages awarded.

On 15 September Oracle saw its damages award of $1.3 billion (£824.5m) against SAP and its former US-based affiliate, TomorrowNow, for copyright infringement, slashed to just to $20 million (£13m).

Tom Jowitt

Author: Tom Jowitt

Freelance TechWeek Reporter
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