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11 July 2011, 19:48

Oracle defends Java patent

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The US Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) has provisionally rejected, partially or in full, five of the seven Java patents over whose alleged infringement Oracle has taken Google to court. However, Oracle has refused to accept this rejection. In a response to the USPTO, the software vendor explains why it thinks that the reference to "prior art" does not apply.

The affected patent is number 7426720, which was granted in 2008. It describes the launching of applications that are isolated and independent of each other within an application framework. In its decision to reject 20 of the 22 claims in this patent, the USPTO refers to various older patents and to "The Design of the Unix Operating System", a standard reference written by Maurice J. Bach in 1986.

Now, Oracle has presented its position in a 42 page response: none of the USPTO's referenced sources included all the elements that are described in the patent, said Oracle, adding that some of the references don't include the class loader, while others are missing the "master runtime process" or the cloning facility via Copy-on-Write. In his blog, patent expert Florian Müller suspects that Oracle will put particular effort into defending this patent because it is valid until 2025 – the other patents will expire in 2018 at the latest. If patent 7426720 is upheld, and Google is found guilty of willfully infringing it, this is likely to increase the amount of damages to be paid.

Oracle claims that Google's Android mobile operating system infringes the disputed patents and has demanded $2.6 billion in damages. Groklaw has compiled the patents and the USPTO's re-examinations in a document.


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