by Karen Gullo
July 23, 2011
July 23, 2011 -- Oracle Corp.’s $6.1 billion damage estimate in its patent infringement lawsuit against Google Inc. over the use of Java technology in the Android operating system was thrown out by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ruled yesterday that a new damage estimate should start as low as $100 million, a figure Google was offered, and rejected, in 2006 to license Java from Sun Microsystems Inc., before Sun was acquired by Oracle, according to a court filing. The $6.1 billion estimate assumed that all of the seven patents Oracle is suing over were used in Android and the company didn’t present sufficient facts to support that, Alsup said.
“The court is strongly of the view that the hypothetical negotiation should take that $100 million offer as the starting point,” Alsup said in his written ruling.
Oracle, the largest maker of database software, sued the Internet search-engine company last year, claiming Google didn’t obtain a license for the patents infringed by Android. Besides seeking damages, Oracle wants the court to order destruction of all products that violate its copyrights.
A trial is scheduled for Oct. 31. Deborah Hellinger, an Oracle spokeswoman, and Aaron Zamost, a Google spokesman, declined to comment on the ruling.
‘A Substantial Possibility’
Alsup said that if a jury determines that Oracle’s patents were infringed, there is “a substantial possibility” Google will be ordered to permanently stop selling any infringing products. A new damage estimate should address assumptions that an injunction may be granted and can be based on a portion of Google’s advertising revenue garnered from Android devices, he said.
The $100 million “starting point” can be adjusted upward to assume that all parts of the patents that Oracle cited in its complaint are valid and infringed, Alsup ruled.
Oracle’s new damage report is due 35 days before an Oct. 17 pretrial conference, Alsup said.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, denies infringing and asked Alsup at a July 21 hearing to throw out Redwood City, California-based Oracle’s damage estimate.
The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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