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Damages to be sought in Oracle – Google lawsuit remains unsettled

As the market for smartphone technologies continues to grow, so do the legal disputes between large technology corporations. Oracle is bringing an intellectual property lawsuit against Google for an infringement of their patents. In a recent development, the U.S. district judge hearing the case rejected the estimated damages that Oracle had provided.

The lawsuit was filed by Oracle in response to Google’s Android operating system. Oracle says in the suit that the creation of the operating system infringed on patents for Java programming tools that belong to Oracle through the purchase last year of Sun Microsystems.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the judge rejected estimated damages of $6.1 billion. In a written opinion, the judge stated that the estimates overreached because they were based on broad estimates of what the smartphone technology is worth. Oracle will be given an opportunity to produce another estimate to the judge for consideration. The new estimate should more specifically tie damage estimates to the particular patents that were allegedly infringed.

An aspect of the damages debate stems from whether or not advertising revenue from Android devices should be considered part of the software’s value. Google receives revenue from advertising when Internet searches are performed on Android devices.

The judge had previously denied a request by Google to suspend the case until the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had an opportunity to review the patents that Oracle asserts were infringed. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the judge has also asked Oracle to be more specific about the patent claims. Instead of the 50 claims regarding seven patents, the judge would like to see a number that is more manageable.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, “Judge tosses Oracle’s $6.1 billion damage estimate in claim against Google,” Brandon Bailey, 23 July 2011


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