Google's Counterclaims and Oracle's Response

Google Ask For More Clarity in Oracle Lawsuit

More details have emerged on the Google/Oracle lawsuit, as both companies have filed their Counterclaims and answering Motion, respectively.

In its counter-claims (posted in reply to the original Oracle lawsuit) Google requested Oracle's complaint be dismissed and for a judgement that Google has not infringed on Oracle's patents. It also called for Oracle's patents to be declared invalid, and stated that all of Oracle's claims are "barred by laches, equitable estoppel and/or waiver, and unclean hands." Google requested Oracle be billed for the full cost of the litigation. In the counter-claims, Google makes sure to point out that it "does not receive any payment, fee, royalty, or other remuneration for its contributions to the Android Platform." Although details are still sketchy, Dalvik appears to play a pivotal role in the lawsuit, and Google makes sure to point out that "Dalvik bytecode is distinct and different from Java bytecode" and that "the Dalvik VM is not a Java VM."

Google's Answer was accompanied by a motion to dismiss the copyright infringement claim, or for Oracle to make a more definite statement. The latter point could be interesting, as Oracle's Complaint is filed against an unidentified part of the Android platform, and Google itself points out that Android "includes a variety of different types of materials, including software code, computer programs, specifications, reference materials and developer tools and resources." So what part of Android is Oracle suing over? Groklaw agrees that Oracle needs to clarify what exactly they are suing over, or the claim can be completely dismissed, on the grounds that Google can't defend themselves against an unidentified claim. "The law is that Google isn't supposed to have to guess," states Groklaw.

However, now Oracle have replied with a request for the court to dismiss parts of Google's counter-claims. The claims in question include the assertion by Google that Oracle's patents are invalid. Oracle are also appealing to the court to censor some of the background material in Google's Answer, claiming it is merely "a long list of self-congratulatory remarks and polemics that have nothing to do with Google's counter-claims for non-infringement and invalidity." The material Oracle wish removing, include details of how Oracle voted in favour of open sourcing the Java platform, back when they were on the EC of the JCP, and not the new stewards of Java. Groklaw interpret this as a wish by Oracle to "to remove all the materials about how beneficial open source is compared to closed," and they call the company out for it: "shame on you, Oracle. You used to know better, as shown in the very material information that you now would like removed from Google's filing."

Also on the list of paragraphs Oracle wishes striking out from Google's Counterclaims, is the statement that Google does not receive any fees from the Android platform. Oracle "would like to knee-cap Google by removing the parts that would help Google defend itself from Oracle's patent aggression," is Groklaw's assessment of this request.

Oracle justify their patents with the evidence that other companies have paid for them, which Groklaw dismisses as a weak argument, on the grounds that "the whole world knows that patent law got so crazy lots of defendants will pay rather than get sued." The potential negative consequences of the litigation have already been much-discussed in the community, and the Groklaw website neatly sums up the general consensus with the stark simile that "this filing is like throwing lit firecrackers into the community. Even the litigation itself is. It's not going to make Oracle any friends. Even if it wins, it loses."

Jessica Thornsby

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