Oracle Suffers USPTO Java Patent Rejection in Google Android Case

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has effectively rejected one of the seven patents Oracle said Google infringed by rejecting the one claim in the patent that Oracle raised in the case.

Google gained some new ground in its patent battle with Oracle as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a final rejection of one of the patents Oracle raised in the case.

On Dec. 20 the USPTO rejected patent number 6192476, which was up for reexamination at Google's request, according to 9to5 Google, which referred to a citation from Groklaw. Oracle claimed Google had infringed on seven of its patents for Java technology that the database giant had acquired in its purchase of Sun Microsystems in January 2010.

Initially, Oracle asserted 132 claims against those seven patents, but upon request by the judge on the case, U.S. District Judge William Alsup, the company cut those claims down to an interim short list of 50 claims. Groklaw reports that only one of those claims for patent 6192476, claim 14, was asserted by Oracle in the litigation. And claim 14 was denied by the USPTO.

In a preliminary finding, the USPTO rejected 17 of the 21 claims in the patent, and then made that rejection final with its Dec. 20 filing. Oracle has until Feb. 20, 2012, to seek reconsideration or appeal of the USPTO action.

Judge Alsup has instructed Oracle to limit the number of claims it brings to trial. From the short list of 50, Oracle still hopes to bring 21 patent claims to trial, said Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. Judge Alsup had tentatively proposed that Oracle only bring three patent claims to trial.

A speedy trial is what Oracle wants. According to court documents filed Dec. 19, Oracle came out pushing for a trial as early as January in its antitrust case against Google claiming that Java is losing ground to Google's Android, and the faster Oracle can seek relief the better.

In a Dec. 20 post about the filing, Mueller said Oracle and Google filed a joint pretrial statement to Judge Alsup detailing their request for a trial date, among other things. Oracle asked for a trial to start as early as January. Google said it could be ready for a trial as late as July 2012. A trial in the case was initially slated for the end of October 2011, but the court had a scheduling conflict.