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24 July 2011, 17:03

Oracle has to do its homework in trial against Google

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Oracle Android icon "Soviet-style" negotiations and an opinion "not based on sufficient facts" – the judge presiding over the case of Oracle versus Google concerning violations of Java patents criticised the two parties harshly in a written statement handed down on Friday. Judge William Alsup largely upheld Google's motion to throw out Iain Cockburn's estimate of the damage that Oracle suffered, partly because Cockburn based his estimate on the entire Java environment, not the seven disputed patents which concerned only part of the technology.

The claim that the damage amounts to $2.6 billion therefore probably stands little chance of success. Alsup says Oracle should expect to discuss $100 million in damage, the maximum that Google estimated for the license costs in negotiations with Sun. The former owner of Java was reportedly willing to license the mobile version of the language for a fixed sum of $60 million in addition to a maximum of $25 million in revenue sharing.

Now, Oracle has around six weeks to produce another damage estimate so that the trial can continue. But Alsup says this will be Oracle's last chance: if the firm fails to improve its evidence, he may not accept any further submissions.

At the same time, Alsup does not exactly have praise for Google either. Among other things, he quotes Andy Rubin, who, as vice president of Google, wrote in 2005: "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." The judge concludes that: "Google may have simply been brazen, preferring to roll the dice on possible litigation rather than to pay a fair price" for the licence. If the jury finds that Google intentionally violated patents, the damages would triple.


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