The latest from the bitter spat between Oracle and Google

Oracle withdraws patent and reduces damages heavily in Android patent case

Chris Mayer

Oracle have reassessed their claims in order to ‘streamline the case’ dropping the last patent claim and reducing their damages. But Google still aren’t happy.

Another week, another development in the Oracle-Google court case. This development however could have huge ramifications for Oracle, after withdrawing one patent from their six filed against Google and greatly reducing their damage calculation.

Firstly, in a letter to Judge Alsup, Oracle have chosen to file a motion for summary judgment of invalidity of Claim 14 of U.S. Patent No. 6,192,476, citing that they wanted to ‘streamline’ the case. This leaves Oracle with five cases filed against Google for the use of Java patents in their Android platform. From the outset it could be suggested that Oracle’s case against Google is weakening, having reduced the number of patents from seven to five and the number of claims from 132 to just 14.

Google also responded to the third damages report by Oracle’s damages expert Iain Cockburn and have again stated that Cockburn has overstated the value of the patents. Despite coming to a valuation of between $129 million and $169 million (a huge reduction on the original $6.1 billion estimated by Oracle), Google say that the ‘report remains riddled with fatal flaws’, arguing that Cockburn’s methodology is questionable.

Cockburn offers two alternatives of apprortionment. The first being the ‘independent significance’ method which Google calls ‘smoke and mirrors’, accusing Cockburn of throwing everything together to inflate the actual value of Oracle’s case. The second method, entitled ‘group and value approach’ is also flawed according to Google as five engineers were asked to rank the value of importance of the infringing patents. Groklaw agrees with this faulty method of attaining data:

The Oracle engineers themselves confirm that they had no technical basis for translating their qualitative judgment into quantitative valuations. Dr. Reinhold confirmed that the engineers did no quantitative assessment, and that such an assessment would require significant and repeated performance testing of each patent’s functionality.

Groklaw goes through the nitty gritty of Google’s response, showing that their lawyers have the eyes of a hawk providing compelling evidence to disregard Cockburn’s valuation. The question remains, are Oracle in a losing battle here? Their original stance has pretty much been torn to pieces by Google, greatly reducing their original assessment from billions to a little over $100m now. And that could be set to change. For all their want of ‘streamlining’ the case, it’s going to be a while yet before we come to a valuation that Judge Alsup will agree with.

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