Judge William Alsup on Friday ordered Oracle back to the drawing table in its patent infringement allegations against Google. Specifically, the judge told Oracle to rethink the amount of damages it is seeking, which amounted to $2.6 billion.
Oracle is claiming Google’s Android operating system infringes on certain aspects, or expressive Java code, used in Android. Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems, maker of the Java Programming language, in April 2009.
Google had filed a motion to exclude a damages report and the related testimony of its author before a jury, which Judge Alsup granted, according to a posting of the ruling on Scribd (via FOSS Patents blog).
The judge has given Oracle a non-binding starting point of $100 million in damages, suggesting the company rethink the underlying theories supporting its claims and to go from there.
Judge Alsup’s order includes a quote from a 2005 email from Andy Rubin that suggests Google knew it was infringing on certain Java IP. “If Sun doesn’t want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language – or – 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way,” Rubin wrote.
Florian Mueller, an intellectual property analyst, suggests in a blog post at FOSS Patent that such a statement could be extremely damaging to Google should a jury see it if the case goes to trial.
Oracle has been given 35 days to revise its damages report. Judge Alsup warned that if the “next and final report fails to measure up in any substantial and unseverable way,” then it might be excluded altogether.
Filed Under: Industry regulations