Oracle's case against Google crumbling?

Oracle suffer another blow in Android case as another patent invalidated

Chris Mayer
Oracle-vs-Google1

The US Patent Office invalidates another Oracle patent, leaving them with a solitary infringement left from the not-so magnificent seven.

It’s been a bad week for Oracle in the court case without a
clear light at the end of tunnel. First
they withdrew one of their patents
and issued a third and
heavily marked-down damages report. Now according to Groklaw, the
US Patent Office has invalidated a fifth patent of their original
seven they asserted back in the summer of 2010, leaving them with
just one standing as the two giants possibly head to court.

The patent in question, RE38104, was given a non-final
rejection and Oracle have until April 16th to respond with an
appeal, should they choose to. With four patents already left in
limbo, Oracle’s patent infringement case has been severely
weakened, and it does leave you to wonder whether they should
bother querying this decision and focus all their efforts into the
copyright trial. Pursuing the solitary patent could be a high-risk
strategy.

The joint update also revealed that the USPTO had issue a
‘final’ rejection of all of the asserted claims of the
‘702 and ‘205 patents, but again Oracle could appeal if they
wish. Whilst these decisions from the USPTO are non-final, it
does weaken their argument in the eyes of the jury according to
some.

Groklaw says:

Oracle will be left with only the four claims of the
‘520 to assert at trial, and as we have pointed out before, the
‘520 claims are now facing limitation because of representations
made by Oracle during the reexamination.

It appears then that all is riding on the ‘520
patent
 :’Method and apparatus for resolving data
references in generated code’ 
in Oracle’s action against
Google for the use of Java patents within their Android platform.
The 520 patent was in fact an invention claimed by Java creator,
James Gosling. 

FOSS
Patents blogger, Florian Mueller
said he was surprised that the
Gosling patent was invalidated

The Gosling patent was the last
one of the seven on which the USPTO issued a first Office action.
This took very long, and for a long time I was thinking that Oracle
might be able to get a lot of mileage just out of the Gosling
patent. It appeared pretty fundamental to me. But this patent
appears to be bound for invalidation, given that Oracle has so far
not been able to dissuade the USPTO from turning any non-final
rejection into a “final” one.

Mueller also provides a succinct
analysis of what Oracle have to do now…

Oracle now finds itself in
a situation in which common sense clearly shows that Google didn’t
want to respect its intellectual property (as
the 
Lindholm
email
 demonstrates), but in order for Oracle to
prevail in court, it must prove that Google infringes on valid
intellectual property rights belonging to
Oracle.

On the copyright side of things,
Oracle must defeat Google’s argument that its
API-related source files aren’t copyrightable, which is a fairly
hazy and controversial area. 
Judge Alsup recently said
that an April court date would happen for the copyright trial once
a sufficient damages report was filed, even though Google still
contested that this week. Perhaps we’re finally on the home stretch
here.

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