April 3, 2012
Google And Oracle Can’t See Eye To Eye, Dispute Moves To Court
US Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose, California issued a court order yesterday (April 2) stating that the two parties had failed to reach an acceptable settlement in their disagreement and will therefore cease pre-trial settlement negotiations.
“We are referred to as trial courts because, in the end, some cases just need to be tried,” Grewal wrote in the order. “Despite their diligent efforts and those of their able counsel, the parties have reached an irreconcilable impasse in their settlement discussions.”
Oracle´s patent infringement accusations came to light after it acquired Sun Microsystems in 2009. It claimed then that Android´s use of Java infringed upon copyrights and patents that oracle now holds.
At one point in the long-running battle, Oracle suggested Google might owe more $6 billion in penalties -- a figure that could force Google to shut down Android. That amount has been lowered over time to a top fine of around $220 million.
After the last round of negotiations fell through; Oracle declined an embarrassing offer by Google to pay about $3 million in damages after it declined a less than one percent share Android revenue -- a trial date has been set.
Google has maintained that it has not infringed on any Java patents and said it believes mobile phone makers and other users of its open-source Android operating system are entitled to use the Java technology in dispute. It furthered maintained that Sun Microsystems, before being acquired by Oracle, declared that Java would be open-source, allowing any software developer to use it; and Sun did release some of its source code in 2006 and 2007.
The trial, once it starts, should take about eight weeks. Although Oracle had initially started the suit in 2010 alleging a wide list of infractions of its intellectual property rights, the current suit has been narrowed down to just two patents and a set of copyright infringements.
Google said that if the suit ends in favor of Oracle, it is ready to offer a revenue-sharing agreement with the patent holder. Oracle, however, said it will not accept such a petty offer from the Internet search giant.
The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).