Oracle Seeks $1.16 Billion in Damages, Injunction Against Google

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-09-23 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In a recent court filing, Oracle said it is seeking more than $1.16 billion in damages from Google for allegedly infringing its Java patents and copyrights.

Oracle estimates that it should receive about $1.16 billion in damages due to Google's alleged infringement of Oracle's Java patents and copyrights in creating the Android mobile operating system.

In a letter filed with the court Sept. 22, Oracle's attorneys said Google "mischaracterizes" the report by Oracle's damages expert and mistakenly claimed that Oracle was seeking more than $2.2 billion in damages. Instead, the letter indicates that Oracle is seeking $176 million to $202 million for patent-infringement damages, between $102.6 million to $136.2 million for copyright-infringement damages and $823.9 million in infringer's profits. Added together, the maximum of these figures amounts to just over $1.16 billion.

Oracle filed suit against Google in August 2010 for infringing Java patents and copyrights that Oracle received when it acquired Sun Microsystems earlier that year.

Oracle's letter to U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the case, was intended to beat back Google's attempt to have the court disregard the report by Oracle's damages expert, Iain Cockburn, a professor of business at Boston University. Google is seeking to file a Daubert motion against Cockburn's report. A Daubert motion is used to exclude the testimony of an expert witness by arguing the witness does not possess the requisite level of expertise or used questionable methods to obtain data.

In its letter, Oracle argued: "Adding what Sun expected to earn from a compatible Android, but lost when Google infringed the copyrights and fragmented Java is consistent with" existing case law.

The Oracle letter also said:

Google says "there is no evidence Sun would have been able to establish a viable business to exploit Android" and "Sun never did so in reality," but the first is false and the second is a tautology: The reason Sun never did so was the incompatibility of Android eliminated the business case.

Meanwhile, Florian Mueller, an analyst and the author of the FOSS Patents blog who has been watching this case closely, said he believes Oracle's ultimate goal is to gain an injunction against Google.

"Damages can be substantial, but they are not what Oracle is primarily trying to get out of this case," Mueller wrote. "They are a potentially substantial consolation prize. The grand prize, however, is an injunction, and Oracle's filing makes this clear with the following statement, which explains why Oracle's new damages computation-unlike the old one that included damages until the year 2025-relates only to past damages and apparently provides only some data points with a view to future damages, which would be rendered totally irrelevant by an injunction:

Third, Google complains that Prof. Cockburn does not "provide a firm calculation of future damages." The Court directed that past and future royalties not be mixed by advancing royalties in a lump-sum payment. Prof. Cockburn complied. Oracle intends to strenuously pursue injunctive relief to resolve the key issue in this case: whether Google can use Oracle's intellectual property to create an incompatible clone of Java and thereby undermine Oracle's and many others' investments in "write once, run anywhere." If future royalties are applied, it is well-established that they should be based on a separate, post-verdict assessment.

Mueller added, "The bottom line is that a Java license can become more costly, possibly even far more costly, to Google than the proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility if Oracle obtains an injunction that Google can't engineer around. In that case, Oracle could shut down Android and make Google a take-it-or-leave-it offer, the terms of which would not in any way be limited by whatever Oracle previously calculated as damages."

 

 


 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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