Is this the final bell?

Oracle vs Google: Judge orders Oracle to foot the bill

Chris Mayer
android1

Presiding Judge Alsup has thrown salt into Oracle’s wounds by ordering them to pay Google $1.1m in costs.

Just
when you thought the Oracle vs Google patent and copyright
infringement case had finally petered out, Larry Ellison’s company
have been dealt a further hammer blow by the presiding Judge
Alsup.

Oracle’s pursuit of that elusive $6bn damages figure for the
inclusion of Java patents in Android has long since subsided, but
Alsup thrown salt into the wounds by ordering them to pay Google
$1.1m in costs.

Following two years of litigation and six weeks at the courthouse,
Alsup was pretty damning in his conclusion:

Oracle initially alleged infringement of seven patents and 132
claims but each claim ultimately was either dismissed with
prejudice or found to be non-infringed by the jury. Oracle also
lost on its primary copyright claim for Java APIs…

While it is true that a copyright issue presented,
copyrightability of APIs, was of great importance to the computer
industry, this is not enough to deny costs. The media attention
following this case was due in large part because Oracle crafted
broad, and ultimately overreaching, claims of copyright
infringement. A close follower of this case will know that Oracle
did not place great importance on its copyright claims until after
its asserted patents started disappearing upon PTO reexamination
(indeed, Oracle’s first damages report barely mentioned copyright
claims). Oracle did not bring its API copyright claim for the
benefit of addressing “a landmark issue of national importance,”
but instead fell back on an overreaching (albeit somewhat novel)
theory of copyright infringement for its own financial interests
late in litigation. On these facts, Oracle has failed to overcome
the presumption of awarding costs to Google.

To summarise the above: Oracle will have to cough up for this
drawn-out API case against Google. Whilst it isn’t the $4m Google
were hoping for, it’s still a sizable amount from the Oracle
coffers. Alsup also denied Google’s motion for judgment as a matter
of law, or a new trial. Not that it will matter too much – both
parties are looking for the exit door in this affair.

The judge also revealed that he would “take no further action”
regarding the murky area of payments for favourable articles from
commentators and journalists, reassuring both sides that “no
commentary has in any way influence the Court’s orders”. Oracle
revealed their relationship with FOSS Patents blogger Florian
Mueller, whilst Google eventually disclosed that Mark Lemley, a
Stanford professor, acted as outside counsel in other
matters.

So, a resolution looks in sight – Oracle will have to ‘fess up for
this ill-advised litigation and hopefully, this will be the last we
hear of matters. Then again, this has been said before…

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