Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
android, api, java

Companies:
google, oracle



Boom: Jury Says No Patent Infringement By Google In Oracle Case

from the there-goes-that-one dept

Remember back when Oracle was claiming that Google owed it billions of dollars for infringing on Oracle patents and copyrights? Yeah. Forget that. The jury just said that there's no patent infringement at all and the judge has dismissed the jury. All that's left in this phase of the case is for the judge to make a determination over the copyright issue -- and if he decides APIs cannot be covered by copyright, Oracle will have a complete and total loss. Of course, Oracle will almost certainly appeal, but this case has turned into something of a complete disaster for the company.

Groklaw has the details with "no" answers across the board:
Clerk:

Question 1: has Oracle proved by preponderance of evidence that Google infringed?

Claim 11: not proven
27: no
29: no
39: no
40: no
41: no

Question 2: not proven

1: no
20: no

Question 3: no answer, no response, not applicable.


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  1. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 23 May 2012 @ 6:55pm

    Re-Examination and the Long-Established Limits of Copyright.

    The main point is that about ninety-percent of Oracle's patent claims were overturned in Re-Examination. It would have been more if the patents had been re-examined in the light of Mayo vs. Prometheus. The moral is that anyone likely to be targeted by a patent troll should start filing Requests for Re-Examination against every patent they can think of. A patent troll should be afraid to attempt to blackmail you about a software patent, for fear that, even though you are in the software business, you might start in on their pharmaceutical patents.

    As for the copyrights, for more than a hundred years, people have been trying, under various pretexts, to turn copyrights into super-patents, with longer duration, wider range of allowable subject matter, lack of examination requirements, etc. For more than a hundred years, the courts have been shooting these people down. Early cases tended to involve copyrighted books disclosing systems of book-keeping or accounting. Even if the trial judge was somehow induced to rule that API's were copyright-able, the Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court would correct the situation. The courts' consistent view is that if you want that kind of broad protection, you have to get a patent. The Copyright Office is simply not equipped to consider prior art or immediate obviousness, and doesn't even claim to be. The copyright claim was a desperation measure on Oracle's part.

    David Boies is the kind of lawyer you hire if you are sitting on Death Row, and you have the money to pay for him. He is highly inventive, but in the end, he seems to lose all his cases, because "you can't make bricks without straw."

    Mike Masnick has repeatedly emphasized the importance of execution, as distinct from invention. In a certain sense, prior art is a special case of this. There are incredibly vast piles of prior art, which went unused, for anything up to five hundred years, for want of execution, because they were trying to solve the wrong problem. Prior Art always surfaces, and given the standards of KSR vs. Teleflex, it can be linked together to form a defense against nearly any patent.

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