Google submits motion over API copyright

Midnight filing may blow Oracle v. Google trial wide open

LouisGoddard
Duke-Copyright

A Rule 50 motion filed late last night by lawyers working for Google may significantly shift the course of the Oracle v. Google trial

A Rule 50 motion filed late last night by lawyers working for
Google may significantly shift the course of the Oracle v. Google
intellectual property trial that has been occupying tech
journalists for the past eight days. Google, defending itself
against accusations relating to its Android mobile operating
system, is said to have put forward a radical new interpretation of
Oracle’s rights to the Java APIs at the centre of the case,
asserting that the Santa Clara-based firm is only entitled to
copyright in the APIs as a collective work and not in each
individual component.

“Google says that Oracle wrote in a filing that its works should
not be treated as a compilation”, writes Pamela Jones at
Groklaw.
“But the copyright registrations filed, Google says, ‘don’t support
that.’ So, Google says, it must be a collective work.” As Jones
notes, this could well be a “game changer” in a trial that has so
far proceeded at a fairly pedestrian pace.

Well-known patent blogger Florian Müller
agrees
that the filing is a significant development in the
case, but is hesitant about its immediate impact: “I doubt, at
least for now, that Judge Alsup is going to throw out large parts
of the copyright issues instead of putting them before the jury.”
Yet another subtly pro-Oracle opinion will do little for his
battered reputation as an independent analyst, which was
severely damaged
last week by his decision to accept the
company as a client.

The other significant development from Day Eight of the
much-awaited trial was the dismissal by District Judge William
Alsup of a request by Oracle to introduce a new patent into the
proceedings. The
patent in question
, numbered 5,966,702, was recently
declared valid
by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO),
despite it having previously been rejected. But Alsup decided late
yesterday to hold Oracle to a previous agreement to drop all
rejected patents in exchange for an early trial date.

“Oracle promised that if they could get a spring trial — Google
wanted one later, after the USPTO was all finished with the
reexaminations — they’d forego their claims on those patents
irrevocably, and they got their spring trial”, explains Jones. The
written
dismissal
by Alsup is clear: “Oracle will be required to stand
by its word and live with the dismissal with prejudice.”

Check out Groklaw’s
entry
for a really detailed account of Day Eight, and stay
tuned to JAXenter for a summary of key points from Day
Nine.

(via Groklaw, FOSS Patents and
The H
)

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