Even The Judge Wonders What Oracle Is Up To As It Asks For $0 In Copyright Damages From Google

from the procedural dept

Having lost both its patent and copyright claims against Google in somewhat spectacular fashion (remember when it was claiming billions in damages?), Oracle recently agreed in court that it was fine with receiving $0 in statutory damages for the short snippets of code that were copied. This even took the judge by surprise, who asked if there was a “catch” he should be aware of. The issue is one that is really more procedural than anything else: everyone realizes that the only thing that matters now is what happens in the appeal, and if Oracle happens to win the appeal, it can revisit the damages question. Either way, however, it is a bit symbolic to see Oracle “accept” $0 in damages. And, of course, there is still one more part to this round in district court, which is that Google is expected to seek attorneys’ fees from Oracle as well — meaning that Oracle’s plan to get billions from Google may turn into not just a loss, but a really, really expensive loss.

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Companies: google, oracle

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Comments on “Even The Judge Wonders What Oracle Is Up To As It Asks For $0 In Copyright Damages From Google”

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alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

I’m clueless to the finer machinations of court procedures, litigation and such, however could it be that if they “accept $0 in damages”, and if that’s language that somehow actually gets into the court record, could, in some future legal action, some shlub lawyer later use the case as “proof we were awarded damages in that case” or at least THINK he/she could do that?

As far fetched as that seems to be, with all the hack nonsense that goes on these days in the legal system, it just seems a possible motive.

Zimzat (profile) says:


This is precisely what I was thinking. It wouldn’t amount for much in a monetary comparison, but it would add to the number of victories for copyright infringement procedures even though they actually lost. 1-0 wins, or whatever their count is. They could then turn that into an extortion letter for any company that doesn’t read the full ruling or pay attention to the news.

Some Guy says:

Has Techdirt gone off its rocker? Forcing audio down my throat now when I visit the site … Another great site turns to crap. I couldn’t even read this article with the audio superimposed over my music stream. Yesterday it had an obnoxious banner superimposed over the existing obnoxious banner. I understand people gotta eat, but seriously … I’m about ready to stop visiting, and this has been one of my favorite sites for a long, long time.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Can you say 'legal precedent'?

Seems to me that what they’re going for here is a legal precedent that shows that they ‘won’, by getting a settlement out of google.

If so it wouldn’t matter that they didn’t actually get any money out of the deal, they still have a case that they can go back to and point to the fact that they ‘won’, which would be worth much more money than they could expect from google at this point.

Anonymous Coward says:


i’ve never seen any of the banners you speak of. before blaming techdirt, i’d suggest at least finding out if the ads are indeed from techdirt and not malware. i’ve known techdirt to take advertising very seriously and don’t want to be too invasive, so it doesn’t sound like the techdirt i know. its possible they’re not aware of it as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

0 would be fine too

it is necessary. if they said zero, you’d have no clue what they said they want zero amount of. so, yes, it is absolutely necessary. zero dollars = $0, not 0%, or 0degC. Plus its in the US, so if you’re complaining that its the same as 0 EUR or 0 AU, etc, well, you’re dumb, cause that’s making it needlessly complicated. We’re in the US, we’ll use the US unit for representing money instead of them saying “0 generic dollars”.

honestly, this comment is kinda dumb from any and all angles. I’m sorry, but it is.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:


There’s an ad on the right with audio that only plays on mouseover, and a banner on the bottom that has recently gotten larger (and was said yesterday they were working with company for a close or minimize button). Neither of these I find even slightly annoying (I generally run Chrome with no adblock).

If you’re getting more than those, you might want to check your browser or system for something else that is generating them.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:


Once it became evident that the judge was knowledgeable and wasn’t going to buy Oracle’s bullshit, Google knew it had a slam-dunk here. It wouldn’t make any sense to “settle” at this point in the game if it could possibly come back on them, so I’m guessing that accepting $0 in damages is still a loss as far as the case is concerned. Even more so if Oracle winds up paying Google’s legal fees, which I believe can only happen in the case of not just a loss but a trouncing loss.

MrWilson says:

Stupid question...

Sure, it’s just semantics, but it’s significant in certain scenarios. If you had $12 and you spent $12, you now have $0. Just because having no money is the same as having nothing of some other unit, you still wouldn’t say, “spending $12 of $12 leaves you with 0 frogs…” Unless you were just trying to be absurd.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Settle instead of lose?

I don’t buy that this is considered a settlement. As you noted, that could leave the door open for future lawsuits by Oracle, perhaps even against Google again. It just doesn’t make sense for Google to convert what was clearly a major win, and an awesome precedent, into a whimpering settlement, so I don’t think that’s the case here. I think at most it is a way for Oracle to save a teeny tiny bit of face.

Anonymous Coward says:

Stupid question...

Trust me when i say that you definitely want zero dollars to be an amount of dollars and not exactly equivalent to nothing.

For instance if zero were a simple indication of nothing at all, exactly and absolutely nothing, then strange things like a lack of oxygen might crop up spontaneously.

At that point i’d expect you’d find that zero dollars is significantly different than nothing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Oracle wants the precedent that they “won” the case for copyright infringment its to set up future lawsuits and ask for a ton of damages. In similar cases they can say ah we won so they can win another related case against a not so smart company. Not to mention they can also try to alter the damages later so long as they establish that Google “infringed”. Really its a ploy to make it that Oracle “won” so they can use this in future lawsuits to troll.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

They?re Not Asking For Zero Dollars ...

… they?re asking for zero billion dollars. You think this is the kind of $0 you can just whip out your wallet and not pay? Hell no. This is the kind of $0,000,000,000 that only big corporations and rich kids can afford to call up their bankers to not pay. This is not your ordinary-Joe-and-Jane petty-cash zero, this is your team-of-lawyers-and-financial-funds, special-letter-of-credit-delivered-by-armoured-car-courier, big-ass now-we?re-talking-real-money zero.

Mark my words, even in giving up damages, Oracle is determined to make it sting for Google to not pay this.

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