Oracle, Which Sought $6B from Google in Java API Case, Ordered to Pay $1.1M Court Costs

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-09-05

The 2-year-old intellectual-property case over which Oracle sued Google for allegedly stealing Java software to use in development of its Android mobile operating system certainly didn't turn out the way Oracle had hoped it would.

Instead of banking a multibillion-dollar settlement or fine levied against the world's largest Internet search provider, Oracle now may end up actually paying Google for legal costs incurred during the six-week court trial.

On Sept. 4, Judge William Alsup of U.S. District Court in Northern California ruled on Google's request for $4.03 million, denying $2.9 million worth of requested reimbursements but granting the rest of it--which comes out to $1.13 million.

Oracle said it will appeal.

"Oracle initially sought $6 billion in damages and injunctive relief but recovered nothing after nearly two years of litigation and six weeks of trial," Alsup wrote. "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."

Alsup added that Oracle's patent allegations were discarded by the eight-person jury, Oracle increasingly relied on an "overreaching and somewhat novel theory of copyright infringement" to bolster its case.

"The problem with Google's e-discovery bill of costs is that many of the item-line descriptions seemingly bill for 'intellectual effort' such as organizing, searching and analyzing the discovery documents," Alsup wrote. "Most egregious are attempts to bill costs for 'conferencing,' 'prepare for and participate in kickoff call,' and communications with co-workers, other vendors and clients."

Details of Judge Alsup's decision can be found on the Groklaw site.

Background on the Case

Oracle on June 20 absorbed a legal defeat from Google by accepting zero financial damages in the first step of its quest to sue the search engine company for using Java application programming interfaces in Android without purchasing a license for them.

In the landmark IT court case that began April 16, Judge Alsup ruled May 31 that Java APIs used by Google in building the now-popular mobile-device operating system are open source in nature and not protected by copyright.

Oracle, plaintiff in the case and maintainer of the open-source Java programming language as well as organizer of its development community, reiterated that it will "vigorously" appeal the verdict.

Chris Preimesberger is Editor for Features & Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz

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