U.S. Judge Chides Google, Oracle as Java Lawsuit Heats Up

U.S. District Judge William Alsup took both Oracle and Google to task at a hearing where he told both parties to be more reasonable in their requests for resolution of the Java patent case.

Oracle's patent infringement lawsuit against Google heated up at a tense court hearing that demonstrated just how far apart the two sides remain.

At a July 21 hearing in San Francisco characterized as "testy" by one report, U.S. District Judge William Alsup chided both sides as unreasonable and at various points called Google "ridiculous" and Oracle "crazy."

"You're both asking for the moon, and you should be more reasonable," Alsup told lawyers for Oracle and Google, according to a Reuters report.

Oracle brought its suit against Google in August 2010, claiming that in the making of its Android mobile operating system Google infringed on seven patents pertaining to Java. Oracle owns Java through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010. However, a preliminary U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) re-examination of the patents in the suit so far indicates that many of the claims in at least five of the patents have issues and have been temporarily rejected by the USPTO.

Meanwhile, in court filings Oracle says it is owed anywhere from $1.4 billion to $6.1 billion in damages, according to calculations by the database giant's expert. Yet, Google dismisses that claim and denies it owes Oracle at all.

"Zero is ridiculous," Alsup said in rejecting Google's position that its ad revenue should not be factored into any damages. However, according to a Bloomberg report, Alsup also called Oracle "crazy" for trying pin its damages claim to the entire value of the Android market.

Alsup has in the past questioned whether Google openly and willfully infringed Java patents. In a past prehearing notice, Alsup said it "appears possible that early on Google recognized that it would infringe patents protecting at least part of Java."

At the July 21 hearing, Oracle attorney Steven Holtzman probed that theory, entering into evidence an internal email sent to Google's Android honcho Andy Rubin from a Google engineer that said Google needed to "negotiate a license for Java," according to Bloomberg's report.