Google Disputes Oracle's Possible $6B Java Lawsuit

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on June 27, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Oracle's Java lawsuit against Google has come with a possibly hefty $6 billion price tag.

Sun Microsystems, the original developer of Java, was bought out by Oracle. Oracle is now suing Google, claiming that the tech giant illegally infringed on Oracle's Java patents by using Java in Google's Android operating system, used in smartphones and tablet computers, reports Computerworld.

In coming up with the damages estimate, Oracle employed Iain Cockburn, a professor at Boston University according to Computerworld.

His estimate? That Google would owe Oracle between $1.4 billion and $6.1 billion. Oracle had previously acquired the Java patents when it bought Sun last year for around $7.4 billion, Computerworld reports.

Since Google doesn't charge for Android, Cockburn added up the revenue Google received from advertising through Android devices, and then proposed to give Oracle half that amount. This information was revealed in a letter to Judge William Alsup, the presiding judge in the case, from Scott Weingaertner, one of Google's attorneys, says Computerworld.

Cockburn's actual report was filed under seal. Weingartner's letter was originally sent June 6th with redacted damages estimates, but the unredacted version was filed last week, reports Computerworld.

The hefty damages claim comes at a time when Oracle is being forced to scale back on its claims against Google. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected 17 of 21 claims associated with one of the Java patents. Google has requested that more claims be examined.

Judge Alsup has also told Oracle that it needs to narrow their claims to a "triable number," reports The Register.

The Java lawsuit and battle between Google and Oracle can also be a lesson for all in house counsel or general counsels in tech companies everywhere. Patent claims and trademark infringement claims can be a definite arsenal in the suit to enforce intellectual property rights, but in making claims, about 90%+ of claims are rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when reexamined, according to Groklaw.

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