Hoping to fend off Oracle's lawsuit claiming patent infringement for certain Java patents, Google has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to re-examine four of the patents.
has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to re-examine four of the
patents that Oracle sued the search giant for infringing with Android.
to a post on the Westerman
Hattori Daniels & Adrian (WHDA) law firm's blog
, Google requested ex
parte re-examination of four Oracle America
patents-U.S. Patent Nos. 5,966,702, 6,061,520, 6,125,447 and RE 38,104-related
to the "Java platform."
August 2010, Oracle
sued Google for infringing seven of its Java patents
and a series of
copyrights. Although Google only requested re-examination of the four patents
listed, the company could later request re-examination of the remaining three.
the re-examination process, a party can have a patent re-examined by a patent
examiner to verify that the subject matter it claims is patentable. To have a
patent re-examined, an interested party must submit prior art that raises a
substantial new question of patentability.
Daniels, a partner with the WHDA intellectual property law firm and author of
the firm's post, said, "Google might also request that the trial judge,
Judge William H. Alsup, to stay the case pending completion of the re-examination
proceedings, but such a stay might not be granted since Google and Oracle
America are direct competitors and since re-examination could not resolve the
asserts that Android, including the Dalvik virtual machine and the Android
software development kit (SDK), infringes Oracle's Java patents. And Google is
hoping the USPTO can give the company some wiggle room in the lawsuit.
Florian Mueller, an intellectual property activist and free and open-source
software supporter, said he believes Google is by itself too weak to protect
Android from lawsuits.
a blog post titled "Google
is patently too weak to protect Android
," Mueller cites the number of
patents held by the major IT companies and indicates that with only 576 patents
(at the time of his post), Google is not in a position of strength against
Google has ramped up its patenting activity in recent years, the gap in
portfolio strength between the Android developer and its mobile operating
system competitors actually appears to be widening," Mueller said in the
2010, IBM continued its streak of claiming
the top spot with the most patents awarded to any company by the USPTO. IBM
was first with 5,896 patents, Samsung came in second with 4,551 patents, and
Microsoft was third with 3,094 patents. Also in the top 10, Intel was eighth
with 1,653 patents and HP was 10th
with 1,480 patents. Meanwhile,
Mueller called Apple a "rising star," as it gained 563 new patents in
2010 and ranked 46th
. And Oracle America,
formerly Sun Microsystems, ranked 43rd
with 646 patents.
the mobile space, "The operating system that is the target of more
infringement action than any other is Google's Android," Mueller said. And
worse yet, Mueller says Google cannot solve Android's problems through
on that point, Mueller said:
are the way most patent disputes between large companies are resolved. If there
is parity in terms of how much each party needs the other company's patents,
the deal may be done without money changing hands. In most cases, however, one
company will have the upper hand and make a payment to compensate for the
difference in portfolio value. Still, such payments tend to be much lower than
the cost incurred by a 'have-not' who needs a license from a powerhouse. In a
price-sensitive, highly competitive market such as smartphones, the cost of
patent licensing is eminently important."