Google may be willing to settle Oracle's Android lawsuit

Google has 'blinked' and hinted it may be willing to settle, a patent expert says

Google has offered the first public indication that it may be willing to settle Oracle's lawsuit against it over the alleged infringement of Java patents in Google's Android OS.

Google and Oracle filed legal papers Wednesday that provide the court with an update on the reexamination of Oracle's patents, and on whether they think the case should be "stayed," or put on hold, pending the outcome of that process.

Google argues in favor of a stay. It said the reexaminations are likely to narrow the scope of the case and the damages Oracle can claim against it. Narrowing the case would also make it "more likely that the parties could reach an informal resolution of the matter," Google's lawyers wrote.

While Google doesn't say it is actively seeking a settlement, Wednesday's filing marks the first time it has said publically that it may be open to the idea, said Florian Muller, a patent attorney who has been following the case.

"In a fundamental departure from the positions it previously articulated in its public filings and its public statements, Google clearly blinks," Muller wrote in his FOSS Patents blog.

Google did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Oracle sued Google last August, saying its Android OS violates seven Java-related patents that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems. Oracle has said it is seeking US$2.6 billion in damages for the alleged infringement. Google has strongly denied any wrongdoing and says Oracle's damages estimate is "breathtaking."

Any settlement would likely require Google to pay Oracle royalties for its use of Java in Android.

Oracle remains opposed to delaying the case, it said in Wednesday's filing. Among the reasons it cites is that Google is apparently hiring away Oracle engineers to work on Android.

"The prejudicial impact of such a delay would be particularly acute as Android continues to gain market share at a dramatic pace, growing at over 500,000 activations per day ... and as knowledgeable Oracle employees continue to be lost to turnover (many being hired away by Google)," Oracle's lawyers wrote.

Delaying the case pending the reexaminations by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office would also "surrender control" of the court's schedule to "an overburdened administrative agency," Oracle said

Google asked the patent office to reexamine Oracle's patents soon after it filed its lawsuit. The PTO has issued preliminary "office actions" rejecting Oracle's claims in four of the patents, and upholding them in a fifth. Google says it expects office actions for the remaining two patents shortly. However, legal experts have cautioned against reading too much into the preliminary rulings, some of which Oracle has already appealed.

David Mixon, a patent lawyer with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings who has been following the case, said he thinks the judge is likely to stay the case, given that the patents are in the process of being reexamined.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googleconsumer electronicsintellectual propertylegalAndroidCivil lawsuitspatentsmartphonesOracle

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?