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Court: Oracle can't start Google trial without lower damages

updated 08:00 am EST, Tue January 17, 2012

Oracle ordered to lower Android lawsuit damages

Oracle's already delayed trial against Google for alleged copyright and patent violations in Android has been set back indefinitely in an attempt to lower damage requests. Judge William Alsup ruled late last week that he wouldn't set a trial date until Oracle sets a "proper damages methodology." He wanted the company to go lower than what it wanted following tossed patent claims and accused Oracle of being interested solely in high damages worth billions rather than compensation for actual losses.

"Oracle has no one to blame but itself, given that twice now it has advanced improper methodologies obviously calculated to reach stratospheric numbers," Alsup said.

He hinted the case could even be dismissed if Oracle couldn't tone down its expectations, which were once as high as $6.1 billion but were still as much as $2.6 billion.

Google is also still petitioning the court to reverse a decision allowing a key e-mail message from Tim Lindholm. The engineer had been asked by Google's co-foudners to find an alternative to Java for Android and Chrome to skip licensing requirements, but determined that the Sun- and later Oracle-owned framework was needed and would likely require a license. Many both in and out of the court have considered this a definitive piece of evidence, since it shows the highest levels of company leadership aware of and ultimately ignoring the need for a Java license.

Alsup has made a number of concessions for Google. Along with the damage controls, the trial itself is split into three phases for copyright, patent, and miscellaneous issues. The structure would let Google press for a settlement if it loses a phase early on but continue to the end if it's confident it can escape a penalty.

The lawsuit at its extremes has been considered a posssible threat to Android itself, since it could have put a significant tax on every use of Android and challenged its free-to-use model. The absence of an up-front cost has been key to Android's growth and getting an edge over Apple's strictly in-house iOS and Microsoft's per-device license on Windows Phone. [via PC World]

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. simon42

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Steve is gonna cry

    It's unfair!!! Put the genie back in the bottle, now!

  1. facebook_Pete

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2012


    Google must have..

    paid Judge Alsup handsomely to get into bed with Google..Did he bend over too to them too?

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The smoking gun

    Re: "Google is also still petitioning the court to reverse a decision allowing a key e-mail message from Tim Lindholm."

    Throwing out that email is Google's only hope. The judge is already talking about damages, and the suit hasn't even gone to court yet. Slam. Dunk.

    On one hand, a few billion plus or minus isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of tech. Especially for companies as big and as valuable as Google and Apple.

    On the other hand, Google has already blown $12.5 billion on Motorola just to build Android devices. That's roughly 1.5 years of profits for Google. A huge, deep financial hole that Google needs to dig themselves out of, and so far Motoroogle has done squat for them in that regard.

    How much worse can it get for Google? How much easier would it have been for them, for Android, and for their hardware partners, if Google had simply agreed to license Java? Maybe it's time for some adult supervision.

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