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USPTO tosses some Oracle patent claims at Google request

updated 11:15 am EST, Tue December 27, 2011

USPTO gives Google a break on key patent

The US Patent and Trademark Office gave Google a rare break late last week in further scaling back Oracle's limited patent claims in a lawsuit over Android's code. A total of 17 of the 21 claims of the patent were rejected, including one claim that Oracle had been leveling against Google. Oracle has until February 20 to challenge the rejection.

Oracle has already had some of its damage claims dismissed and may see dialed back some of its expectations of billions of dollars in Java-related patent royalties.

The patent rejection is still unlikely to help Google completely avoid some payout, whether damages or a settlement. Oracle is allowed to use Google's e-mail admitting patent concerns and ma essentially have surefire evidence that Google knew it ought to have paid Sun for a license, and later Oracle, but ignored it.

Depending on any terms of a conclusive verdict, Google may have a harder time giving away Android for free. Microsoft has accused Google of price dumping much as Microsoft itself did with Internet Explorer in the 1990s, where in either case a company uses its dominance in one area to give away something else for free to undercut rivals that have to charge. [via Groklaw]




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    no longer free, Apple can sue Google

    I believe if Google actually has to charge for Android, Apple can directly sue Google for patent infringement instead of going after the hardware vendors. Apple can't sure Google now because Android is technically free. Change this and Google will be open to lawsuits from Apple and others. If Oracle wins on the Java issue, which they should, the results could be very good for Apple.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    @prl99

    Just because Google is giving it away doesn't mean Apple can't sue them.

  1. garmonbosia

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    @dliup

    "Just because Google is giving it away doesn't mean Apple can't sue them."

    It's almost impossible to assess damages if they give it away for free.



  1. yticolev

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Definitely not free!

    Google an advertising model, and Android makes a ton of money for them. It is only "free" for the handset manufacturers, and even then they are being sued so it is not really free to anyone.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    @prl99

    It's almost impossible to assess damages if they give it away for free.

    No it's not. That's what lawyers and accountants are for. If Google charged $20 per copy of Android, Apple isn't limited to suing for $20. They're limited to sue for what they WOULD HAVE CHARGED Google for using the patent/tech in question.

    And that's just assuming they would license it. Even if they didn't license it, they'd still give the technology a value, and say Google owed that much (plus who knows how much more in punitive damages for knowingly 'stealing' the ideas).

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: Apple can sue Google

    Apple can directly sue Google for patent infringement instead of going after the hardware vendors.

    And how many hardware vendors is apple going after which are claiming patent infringement based within the OS rather than hardware?

  1. CmdrGampu

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    @garmonbosia

    "It's almost impossible to assess damages if they give it away for free."

    Isn't that what the RIAA and MPAA do? They still sue for damages from people "giving away" movies and music who don't make any money themselves. Damages aren't about how much the infringer makes, but rather how much the infringed supposedly lost because of the infringment.

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