Oracle v. Google Not Over Yet: Oracle Seeks Another New Trial While Google Seeks Sanctions On Oracle's Lawyers

from the keep-trying-and-trying dept

As you probably remember, a jury decided in Google's favor after a somewhat wacky trial that its use of some of the Java APIs was considered fair use. Oracle, of course, isn't going down quietly. It immediately asked the judge, William Alsup, to reject the jury's verdict, which he refused to do. Everyone expects that Oracle will appeal this as high as it can go, though its chances aren't great.

In the meantime, though, Oracle isn't done trying every possible door at the district court level. Last week it simply asked for a new trial in what I can only describe as Oracle's sour grapes motion. It starts out by claiming that "the verdict was against the weight of the evidence" and thus a new trial is necessary. And then it whines about a whole bunch of other issues, including Google's plans to use Android on computers, meaning that the "harm" portion of the trial was unfairly limited to just tablets and phones. It also whines about certain limitations and exclusions of information it was not allowed to present. These are purely "waaaaah, we lost, fix it, waaaaaah" kinds of arguments. The court also excluded lots of Google evidence as well, and Oracle may not really want to revisit some of that either. You can read the full document below or at the link above, but analyzing all of it is pretty silly. It's strictly a sour grapes argument that is unlikely to go anywhere.

At the same time, Oracle filed yet another motion for judgment as a matter of law... that also seems unlikely to go anywhere. Here, though, the argument is basically that the jury got fair use wrong. The argument here is pretty laughable. It goes through each of the four factors and argues why the jury got it wrong. Now, it's true, as some have argued, that a court can take the four fair use factors and basically come to any conclusion it wants, but it's hard to see Judge Alsup doing that here. It would be shocking to see him do so actually. And, rather than go through each argument, I'll just present the table of contents of Oracle's filing here so you can see how desperate the company is:
Basically, Oracle is continuing to falsely pretend that fair use only applies to non-commercial use (it doesn't), and that creating something new with an API isn't transformative unless it's like artwork or something (this is wrong). Oracle's interpretation of fair use is not supported by the history or case law of fair use, and it would be shocking to see the court accept it here.

Meanwhile, on the flip side, Google is looking to punish Oracle's lawyers and asking for sanctions against them for revealing in open court sensitive information that had been sealed by the court.
On January 14, 2016, Oracle’s counsel Annette Hurst disclosed in open court representations of sensitive confidential financial information of both Google and third-party Apple Inc., as well as extremely confidential internal Google financial information.... After Ms. Hurst’s improper disclosures, Oracle and its counsel neither sought to remedy the effects of the disclosures nor acknowledged their wrongdoing. They instead refused to take responsibility for the disclosures, claimed they were inconsequential because Oracle hoped to use the information at trial (which it never did), and even argued that Google’s motion to seal the third party Apple information—which Judge Ryu subsequently granted,... —was “merely a delaying tactic.” ... Within days of the disclosures, and following Oracle’s failure to take remedial action, this information became headline news for major news outlets, at least one of which noted that, thanks to Ms. Hurst, the press could finally report on confidential information that had theretofore been only a subject of speculation.

Oracle’s disclosures and its subsequent actions reveal a profound disregard for this Court’s Protective Order and for other parties’ confidential information. Google and third party Apple were harmed by Oracle’s counsel’s disclosure regarding the terms of a significant and confidential commercial agreement. Google believes it is important, both for this case and for other cases in this District, for the Court to make clear that Oracle’s counsel’s actions were improper, that Oracle’s excuses for the disclosures are invalid, and that Oracle’s failure, after the fact, to cooperate in remedying the disclosures was inconsistent with the Protective Order.
Disclosing confidential/sealed information in court is a pretty big deal, though I have no idea how the court will rule on this matter.

Either way, it's safe to say that there's little love lost between Google and Oracle (and their lawyers).




Filed Under: apis, copyright, fair use
Companies: google, oracle


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 1:07pm

    Considering how disastrous and dangerously ignorant the verdict on this trial was, would a new one (at a new venue, hopefully) really be such a bad thing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      You think some other judge will take the time to understand a computer language so he understand what declaring code is?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anarres (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 1:18pm

      Re:

      I always thought it would be a really bad thing. So much uncertainty after the APIs were declared copyrightable can't bring anything worthy that I see. At least the fair use decision brings some hope that a number of actors would stop to think twice, before pursuing similar mindless claims.

      *I* take comfort in the fact that the arguments for fair use would be similar in almost any case, as far as I see. They wouldn't apply only to too closely compatible software.

      Now that you're asking though. A new trial on this and it alone should mean it goes to a circuit appeals court, not a federal circuit...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 1:28pm

      Re:

      Considering how disastrous and dangerously ignorant the verdict on this trial was

      Copyright was never meant to cover Ideas, or minimal formatting needed to ensure clear communications, which is all that Oracle was caliming as being copyrighted. Further Oracle tried to built a case on a use that the writers of Java, Sun, were happy to allow to proceed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 1:25pm

    "The structure, sequence and organization is highly creative..."

    Oracle's filing is highly creative. Fantastic! As in, based on fantasy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 1:35pm

      Re:

      The structure, sequence and organization of both implementation code and public interface code might be highly creative.

      Google used a complete re-implementation of Java from scratch. So none of Oracle's (actually Sun's) implementation code was copied. To the extent that API public function and other public member names were copied is strictly for compatibility purposes. The names could trivially be changed -- but must be kept the same for compatibility.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 1:42pm

    How can Oracle's lawyers argue that 'non-commercial' is the only area where fair use applies?

    A layman might confuse the broader educational use exceptions (which do have the requirement of being non-commercial) with common fair use. But not a legal professional. Especially not a lawyer with an IP specialty. And most especially not a legal team that just spent years on a high profile, high dollar case.

    This point is a bit of a hot button for me. Many years ago I was on a conference call with Sun (pre-Oracle) lawyers. They had used my code without permission / in violation of the license. One Sun lawyer tried to claim that their use fell under educational fair use, since they distributed my source code (modified for SolarisOS) and therefore it was used to educate people. They quickly backtracked when I pointedly asked if they wanted to stand on that claim with a commercial product. They were counting on a technical person not knowing the law and being able to bluff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      madasahatter (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 2:05pm

      Re:

      Non Commercial is an idiotic claim because fair use is often done in a commercial setting such as quotes in a book, movie reviews (Siskel & Ebert), etc.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2016 @ 2:20am

      Re:

      That's because Larry Ellison is a money-grabbing cock.

      Yes, he rescued Sun. Butt hat's so that he could try and steal money from other major tech companies, and he thought Google was the loe-hanging fruit. Bear in mind that Oracle made a Java-based phone just before Android officially launched. And it was shit. I should know, I had one.

      This is litigating out of pettiness and malice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe K, 15 Jul 2016 @ 1:54pm

    pngtotext


    Now, it's true, as some have argued, that a court can take the four fair use factors and basically come to any conclusion it wants, but it's hard to see Judge Alsup doing that here. It would be shocking to see him do so actually. And, rather than go through each argument, I'll just present the table of contents of Oracle's filing here so you can see how desperate the company is:


    1. GOOGLE HAS NOT MET ITS BURDEN ON FACTOR ONE

      • Google's Use Is Entirely Commercial

      • Google's Use Is Not Transformative

        • Android merely supersedes the Java Platform

        • The declaring code and SSO serve the same purpose in Android

        • Google's arguments are legally irrelevant and factually inaccurate



      • Google Copied In Bad Faith



    2. GOOGLE FAILED TO MEET ITS BURDEN ON FACTOR TWO

      • The Java API Packages Are Highly Creative

        • The declaring code is highly creative

        • The structure, sequence, and organization is highly creative



      • Oracle Invested Heavily In Developing The Java API Packages



    3. GOOGLE HAS NOT MET ITS BURDEN ON FACTOR THREE

      • Google Copied Qualitatively Important And Valuable Parts Of Java SE

      • Google Copied A Quantitatively Significant Amount From Java

      • Google's Copying Cannot Be Excused By Claims Of Necessity

      • Inter-System Consistency And Developer Expectations Are Irrelevant



    4. GOOGLE FAILED TO MEET ITS BURDEN ON FACTOR FOUR

      • Android Directly Competed With Java SE And Its Derivatives

      • Android Competes With Java SE In The Market For App Developers

      • Widespread Use Similar To Google's Would Destroy Oracle's Business

      • There Is No Evidence OpenJDK Harmed Java SE Or Java ME



    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 15 Jul 2016 @ 2:22pm

    if wishes were fishes...

    What is truly sad is that this whole situation could have been avoided if the legislative branch just did their job of writing clear and common-person understandable laws.

    Course while I am wishing for more government efficiency and responsibility I might as well wish for an original photograph of Washington punching the British king as mentioned in the comments last week.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 15 Jul 2016 @ 2:24pm

    Oracle's legal team could use some help...

    so let me be the first to suggest that they contact Turkish President Erdogan's crack legal staff -- because, as of a few hours ago, they're apparently no longer employed by the head of the Turkish state.

    Also, having Erdogan for a client is a probably a good warm-up for dealing with Ellison.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 3:57pm

      Re: Oracle's legal team could use some help...

      > Also, having Erdogan for a client is a probably a good warm-up for dealing with Ellison.

      Larry or Harlan?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hij (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 2:24pm

    Maybe the rumours are true?

    I am beginning to think that the rumours that Mr. Ellison eats the hearts of those who fail him may be true. It is the only explanation that makes sense with respect to this sort of desperation. Maybe we should watch with quiet dignity and respect. And maybe, perhaps yell a hearty "dead men walking" when the Oracle legal team enters the court room?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 3:23pm

    I can't recall one person or party (except for their lawyers) who are siding with Oracle on this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zem, 15 Jul 2016 @ 3:25pm

    oracle should be proud. They have transformed Google, from a tech giant into a windmill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 5:50pm

    FU ellison. sorry just hate that bastard....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    He'll Thanatos, 15 Jul 2016 @ 6:10pm

    Oracle is a bunch of idiots... Are they trying to bleed themselves dry in a battle that shouldn't even be allowed to be fought?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2016 @ 12:32am

    Funny that Google wants to enforce Privacy. Heights of irony.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2016 @ 7:18am

    One
    Rich
    Ass
    Called
    Larry
    Ellison

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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