Oracle Seeks Billions from Google Over Patent

Google could become billions of dollars poorer in the future, that’s if Oracle wins their current patent and copyright infringement lawsuit versus the search engine giant. Last week, Oracle made its claims public in a San Francisco federal court, where the company said it is seeking $6.1 billion dollars from Google. At the heart of the case is Google’s Android software that runs on mobile devices, which Oracle says has been using technology related to its Java programming language.

As expected, there is plenty of disagreement between the two parties when it comes to the monetary damages.  Oracle backed its claims in a filing when it noted that the monetary figures “are based on both accepted methodology and a wealth of concrete evidence.”  Google’s lawyers, on the other hand, begged to differ: “A breathtaking figure that is out of proportion to any meaningful measure of the intellectual property at issue.  Even the low end of the range “is over 10 times the amount that Sun Microsystems Inc. made each year for the entirety of its Java licensing program and 20 times what Sun made for Java-based mobile licensing.”

Oracle solicited the services of a damages expert for the suit, who estimated that Google would owe the company between $1.4 billion and $6.1 billion in damages if it was in fact found guilty of infringement in the case.  Google believes that Oracle’s damages expert’s testimony should be thrown out, since the expert inflated the royalty rates used to come up with the figures.  “Oracle’s ‘methodology’ for calculating damages is based on fundamental legal errors and improperly inflates their estimates,” Google wrote in an emailed statement.  Oracle did not comment further on the matter.

Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems Inc. in January 2010, which effectively gave it ownership of Java.  Oracle then proceeded to sue Google last August to ban the company from using its intellectual property.  The suit aims to force Google to destroy all products that violated any copyrights related to Java’s code documentation, and specifications.  Google’s Android-based Dalvik virtual machine software is said to be the main violator in the case.  Oracle claims that Google did not obtain proper licensing to use Java in its products, and that Dalvik infringes its Java patents.  Google has countered by saying that the patents are not valid, not infringed, and that Android users have proper licensing to any patents involved in the case.  Google also believes that Oracle’s claims are baseless. 

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