Oracle seeks hefty slice of Google's ad revenue

Oracle wants ad revenue generated via searches on Android mobile devices, according to a court filing

Oracle wants a significant chunk of the ad revenue Google generates in connection with its Android mobile OS, according to a filing made this week in the companies' ongoing patent litigation suit.

Oracle sued Google last August, claiming Android infringes on seven of Oracle's Java patents. Google has denied all wrongdoing.

Details of what Oracle wants in compensation have now emerged in a filing made Monday by Google in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The partially redacted filing targets conclusions made by Iain Cockburn, a Oracle legal expert on damages. Passages that appear to concern specific monetary figures are blacked out, but other sections provide a sense of the scope of royalties Cockburn says Oracle is owed.

"Cockburn has no basis for including all of Google's revenue from Android phones into the base of his royalty calculation," Google attorneys wrote. "The accused product here is the Android software platform, which Google does not sell (and Google does not receive and payment, fee, royalty, or other renumeration for its contributions to Android). Cockburn seems to be arguing that Google's advertising revenue from, e.g., mobile searches on Android devices should be included in the royalty base as a convoyed sale, though he never articulates or supports this justification."

Google's ads can be viewed anywhere and are "not uniquely enabled by Android," they added.

In addition, Cockburn "audaciously" attempts to "import into his royalty base the alleged harm [Oracle] would have suffered from so-called 'fragmentation' of Java into myriad competing standards," the filing states.

Also, "after improperly inflating the base of his royalty calculation, Cockburn proceeds to apply an unprecedented fifty percent royalty rate to that base through use of improper short-cuts," the filing adds.

Overall, Cockburn's report is "unreliable, misleading and inappropriate for presentation to a jury," Google argued.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined comment.

Google's filing and arguments were first flagged by Florian Mueller, a frequent blogger on open-source software and patent issues.

"I have analyzed the situation and I can tell you up-front: the word 'demanding' is an understatement," Mueller said in a blog post Tuesday. "The position on damages for past infringement taken by an Oracle expert appears to be such that Oracle would want Google to pay damages for past infringement that would in the worst case far exceed any money Google has made with Android so far -- and would likely expect Google to pay even more going forward."

It could be quite some time before such a scenario could play out, as the judge overseeing the case recently said it may be necessary to delay a trial until U.S. officials complete the re-examination of some of Oracle's patents. That process could take years.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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