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  (Source: LucasFilm, Ltd.)
Oracle gambit is dashed by failure

A note to Google Inc.'s (GOOG) legal enemies (and there are many) -- Google may seem soft-hearted and overly idealistic in its public persona, but in the court room it has more in common with Jason Statham than frosted pastries and cutesy robots.

I. Patent Infringement? "Not Guilty"

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) learned that the hard way in U.S. Federal District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco) today when a jury rejected its arguments and found Google innocent [source] in every case of alleged patent infringement.  

It took the jury a bit over a week to deliberate and reach a verdict in the patent phase of the case.  That same jury already handed a Google a major early win, finding it only violated one of the many copyrights Oracle accused it of, and further was deadlocked on whether Oracle conclusively established the inapplicability of fair use rules.  Hence the jury only ruled Google guilty of minor copyright infringement, and could not decide whether that infringement was acceptable under Fair Use law, hence they essentially found no guilt by Google in the copyright infringement portion.

Google's peachy position was only slightly marred by presiding Judge William Alsup's decision that Google also violated copyrights on eight Java test files.  Still, all and all Google escaped relatively scott-free from the copyright portion.

Now it has a resounding victory in the patent portion to accompany it.  Of the two patents -- U.S. Patent RE38,104 and 6,061,520 -- jurors found that Google did not infringe on a single on of the 8 asserted claims.

Oracle v Google verdict
Oracel v. Google
Oracle v. Google not guitly

As with the copyright phase, the case now goes before Judge Alsup for an official review.  There may be minor modifications, but Judge Alsup's ruling in the copyright phase was fairly close to the jury's so it would be somewhat surprising to seem him diverge substantially in the patent phase.


II. Copyright Infringement Damages Shaping up to be Minimal, as Well

As to the copyright infringements (the RangeCheck and eight test files), the validity of those copyright is in question as there's a debate over whether Oracle should have been allowed to copyright the structure, sequence, and organization (SSO) of the Java code.

Given that the rest of the copyright phase has wrapped up, Google and Oracle have reached an agreement.  If the SSO is found to be valid, all three copyright infringement counts will be bundled together in a new trial.  In the new trial, the jury would be informed that SSO copyrights were not covered by copyright law.  This would make the jury even less likely, in theory, to find Google guilty of any infringement than the minimal infringement findings by the current jury, who operated under the assumption that copyright laws protected SSO-style works.

If the judge finds that copyright laws do protect such works -- the best case for Oracle -- Oracle will receive at most $150,000 USD per infringement, along with Google being banned from using that code.  Neither punishment would be very damaging to Google (9 infringements x $150K USD = $1.35M USD) given the ease by which Google could implement workarounds in its Dalvik Java virtual machine.

Judge Alsup is taking the next couple days off for personal reasons, but a decision on the patent phase (based on the jury's findings of Google's complete innocence) and the final ruling on the SSO issue are expected from him within a couple weeks.

Whatever that decision is, it's already fairly clear that Google will at most have minor workaround work ahead of it, and be obliged to pay at most a couple million dollars. That's wildly different from the billions of dollars in punitive damages Oracle had sought originally.  It's even far 0.65 percent of Android revenue and $2.8M USD in a lump cash sum that Google was willing to offer Oracle in the settlement phase.

Android doll
Google has been a mean machine, trashing foes in court. [Image Source: ZuperDZigh]

Therein lies the bitter irony for Oracle.  It called Google's proposed settlement a "low ball" figure that undervalued its intellectual property.  But in the end, it may wind up receiving far less because it took the case to a trial by jury.  Of course, that's the risk one takes when they opt not to settle.  And that's the risk anyone takes when they take on Google's legal team.

After all, Oracle is hardly the first "victim" of Google's sophisticated legal unit.  Viacom, Inc. (VIA) can attest to that, after its lawyers were humiliated after Google revealed that Viacom employees had uploaded infringed content to Google's YouTube in an apparent attempt to frame the internet firm.  Moral of the story -- don't mess with Google -- or if you do, come ready for a fight.

Source: The Verge



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9 Infringements?
By MozeeToby on 5/23/2012 4:36:21 PM , Rating: 5
9 Infringements? Really? That seems awfully generous, considering those 1 of those lines consists of "}" and another consists of "if (fromIndex < 0)". Not that any of the lines are at all complex and more so ignoring that infringement isn't counted on a per line basis (else making an illegal copy of Windows would be several hundred thousand cases of infringement).

Oracle will be lucky to walk out of that courtroom with $50, let alone $2 million.




RE: 9 Infringements?
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/23/2012 4:48:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
9 Infringements? Really? That seems awfully generous, considering those 1 of those lines consists of "}" and another consists of "if (fromIndex < 0)". Not that any of the lines are at all complex and more so ignoring that infringement isn't counted on a per line basis (else making an illegal copy of Windows would be several hundred thousand cases of infringement).
You're forgetting:

common sense/technical merits =/= patent/copyright law

...If you're big and powerful enough, you can copyright a single line of code and then claim hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages in court if someone copies that line.

Of course, the insanity of such practices aside, it is safe to say that Oracle will wind up with far less cash than the $6 billion it thought it would, or even the 0.65 percent of Android revenue (likely tens of millions) that Google offered it.


RE: 9 Infringements?
By Amiga500 on 5/23/2012 5:54:02 PM , Rating: 4
I should patent the line:

if array(iRow,iCol) > 0:

The whole thing is f**king ridiculous. If a section of code does not contain complex numerics then it should not be copyright-able. Unless someone has copied more than, say, 5% of the non-complex part of any code, then it should be deemed non-copied.

It would be a nice and simple way of getting around this current crap quickly.


RE: 9 Infringements?
By vXv on 5/24/2012 4:22:21 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't about patents but copyright. But anyway Judge Alsup claimed that he can write that 9 lines of code by himself in a short period of time (which implies that Google did not gain much if anything by coping it), which makes the whole thing pointless. I doubt that he will rule "9 infringements" on the basis that each infringement is a line of code ... that's just ridiculous.


RE: 9 Infringements?
By fteoath64 on 5/24/2012 6:50:00 AM , Rating: 2
The judge can. He will also set aside damages to the amount of $150K which is these infringement amount to compared to the total-works. Then he can also allow Google a certain time to remove the infringing code. A few clicks, compile, distribute, download, OTA, update done.


RE: 9 Infringements?
By Etsp on 5/23/2012 6:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't aware that individual lines of code were considered to be infringements. If that is the case, then Google could have made an argument of prior art for the first and last lines, just to rub it in a bit further.


RE: 9 Infringements?
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/23/2012 6:29:25 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I wasn't aware that individual lines of code were considered to be infringements. If that is the case, then Google could have made an argument of prior art for the first and last lines, just to rub it in a bit further.
Bear in mind a lot of that kind of information is getting buried based in part by the fact that one of the most cited "sources" of "independent" information/analysis on the case, Florian Mueller has published incredibly one-sided and misleading overviews exagerrating the supposed infringements and then -- lo and behold -- magically owns up to getting a posh analyst paycheck from Oracle.

I always wondered how Mr. Mueller could afford to selflessly devote so much time to extolling the virtues of Oracle and Apple's cases and trashing Google & co.. By contrast, most writers like myself actually have to cover a variety of news weekly. But when the analyst relationship was revealed, it became pretty clear how Mr. Mueller could afford such singular focus on the Google court disputes.

But yeah, back in the real world:
quote:
Android has several million lines of code, so could the nine lines of code actually be worth $6 billion? Alsup didn't appear to think so.

http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/Judge-Takes-Or...


RE: 9 Infringements?
By WalksTheWalk on 5/24/2012 11:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
A paid shill would a great gig to have if a guy could make a living at it. Sit at home and troll, troll, troll. Once my auto-troll application was complete it would free up a lot of my time of other, more personal, activities.


RE: 9 Infringements?
By Etsp on 5/24/2012 5:21:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
free up a lot of my time of other, more personal, activities.
You mean fapping. Because nobody would like you cause you troll all day. :D


RE: 9 Infringements?
By XZerg on 5/23/2012 6:19:53 PM , Rating: 2
I have not really looked into all the details but copying code can be detected for as simple as "if (fromIndex < 0)". I recall in my university days where some used to copy different sections of code from 10 of their buddies to put together a code and submit it without even ever testing let alone compiling.

The formatting [odd formatting especially] and the verbiage [ex: String plcName vs String placeName] are usually two easy giveaways of copying.

So it all depends on the context.


RE: 9 Infringements?
By Solandri on 5/23/2012 9:18:19 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The formatting [odd formatting especially] and the verbiage [ex: String plcName vs String placeName] are usually two easy giveaways of copying.

Only in a classroom setting with a few dozen or hundred students. Once you start getting to millions of independent implementations, then just by pure chance alone some of the verbiage will be identical.

That's pretty much what Oracle did - wrote a program to look at all the Andoird source code on a fishing expedition to see if any of it matched Java's code. As one of the witnesses said during the trial, a high school student would've implemented the bounds checking in the disputed 9 lines of code the exact same way. Even the variable names are uniformly generic.


RE: 9 Infringements?
By Jeffk464 on 5/23/2012 9:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
Ding dong the witch is dead, yeah.


RE: 9 Infringements?
By adiposity on 5/26/2012 11:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think it is considered 9 infringements, but I guess Jason meant that was the maximum it could be considered. Of course, I guess you could count by ascii char...

Frankly, I think it is clear the function was copied, but it is a tiny function, and the question is, who copied it from whom? Was it original when Sun wrote it? Probably not.

That code is so trivial, it could have been duplicated in a matter of minutes. But even such a simple function would be written 10 different ways by 10 different people. I guess the argument would be, if it's so simple, why did they copy it? The answer, I believe, was it was the same programmer.

That's another issue. If you write code all the time, and use a block of it in a commercial project, and later use it again, can you be sued? Most programmers do this because it's easier to reuse blocks of code than write from scratch. If the block of code is trivial (such as a javascript function to grab a DOM element), most wouldn't think twice about reusing it. Even if you are the author, though, that's dangerous behavior.


It doesn't matter guys.
By sprockkets on 5/23/2012 7:04:51 PM , Rating: 3
Wanna bet appletards will still say Google is a lying thief and steals "intellectual property?"




RE: It doesn't matter guys.
By StormyKnight on 5/23/2012 11:20:14 PM , Rating: 3
Probably not. Now if Google were found guilty you could be sure as cops love doughnuts, they'd be lined up here to gloat and do their, "told ya so" dances.


RE: It doesn't matter guys.
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/24/2012 8:23:06 AM , Rating: 2
I am surprised what's his face hasn't posted yet.... I wonder why... lol


RE: It doesn't matter guys.
By theapparition on 5/24/2012 11:07:22 AM , Rating: 2
I explained to Tony in no uncertain terms why this lawsuit was garbage.

He countered with a rambling dissent and a link pointing to FOSS Patents telling me how I was wrong.

FOSS Patents a shill for Apple/Oracle and a judge deciding that this was indeed without merit. Minor copyright infractions that even then may not hold up.

I love how all his links point to the most biased sites out there. What's he going to do now that he can't point to FOSS anymore?


RE: It doesn't matter guys.
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/24/2012 11:58:53 AM , Rating: 3
Point to Brian Hall, which he has been doing. I think Tony is on Apple payroll. I really do. As someone else said, I think JM, about how FOSS was devoting so much time, well, Tony spends a LOT of time defending Apple which makes me believe he is on someones payroll somewhere. And explaining to Tony? That's like talking to a brick wall, even when the facts go AGAINST him.


RE: It doesn't matter guys.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/24/2012 8:04:21 PM , Rating: 3
Except Tony is so goddamn BAD at it I wonder who would possibly pay him for it.


LOL
By matty123 on 5/23/2012 4:29:22 PM , Rating: 2
One can only laugh at the six billion US dollars oracle originally wanted...




RE: LOL
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/23/2012 4:35:24 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
One can only laugh at the six billion US dollars oracle originally wanted...
Kind of reminds one of the North Korean ballistic missile launches... aiming sky high; crashing and burning come atmospheric entry....


RE: LOL
By topkill on 5/23/2012 4:50:00 PM , Rating: 1
Great analogy JM!!!

And I think I take more joy from this crash and burn than the moron N. Koreans LOL


RE: LOL
By bug77 on 5/24/2012 3:39:54 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, I want $6bn, too! I bet you do, too.


He shoots, he SCORES!!!!!!!
By topkill on 5/23/2012 4:48:40 PM , Rating: 5
This is AWESOME! Now we just need the judge to shoot down any crap about patents on APIs which is even more important really.

Geez, the patent system in the US is totally out of control. I'm going to patent breathing, YOU ALL OWE ME MONEY!!!




RE: He shoots, he SCORES!!!!!!!
By WalksTheWalk on 5/24/2012 11:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
I'm going to patent breathing through the nose. My patent is different from your patent...(rubber stamp) USPTO approved!


RE: He shoots, he SCORES!!!!!!!
By topkill on 5/24/2012 11:55:58 AM , Rating: 2
That does it! I'm suing you for $6Billion!!!


/Nelson
By Motoman on 5/23/2012 3:58:49 PM , Rating: 5
<points at Larry Ellison>

Ha-ha!




RE: /Nelson
By WalksTheWalk on 5/24/2012 11:11:57 AM , Rating: 3
Nice!! Lots of LOLs.


By 1ceTr0n on 5/23/2012 4:26:34 PM , Rating: 1
That thing is operational!!!




Oracle can't use their own code?
By SpinCircle on 5/23/12, Rating: 0
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer














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