Oracle sued Google back in August 2010, expecting to walk away with big spoils of war. Instead, Google wrote to the patent and trademark office asking them to re-examine all patents in connection with the case, and this has caused Oracle to lose many patents it acquired from Sun Microsystems. Clearly, this case costed Oracle considerably in monetary and reputation damages. However, it continues pursuing the case hoping to have a positive turnout.
In December last year, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), on request for a re-examination by Google, invalidated a major Oracle patent. A few days back, Oracle received another blow in this case, when the PTO voided one more of its patents. Finally, Oracle regained some sense and decided to withdraw the claim 14 on the patent ‘467, but we can see that the damage has been done! This makes the entire ‘467 patent out of the scope of this lawsuit.
Moreover, for the third time in a row, Oracle has come up with inflated damage reports claiming more than the applicable reasonable amount. The initial claim from Oracle was a ridiculous 6 billion USD, which has come down to 52.4 – 169 million USD. Google is still not satisfied with these estimates, and has filed a motion to cut this damage list and hence the claim amount, shorter.
Groklaw mocks this whole case with this interesting argument.
Oracle bought Sun, everything Sun had, for what Oracle said was a transaction valued at “approximately $7.4 billion, or $5.6 billion net of Sun’s cash and debt”. That’s hardware, MySQL, Solaris, many things beyond just Java. So how could just six, now five, Java patents out of Sun’s more than 500 Java patents alone, add up to $6 billion? Why did anyone ever think this was a realistic figure instead of just hype?
At present, the PTO has confirmed only four of twenty-six Oracle claims. Oracle walked into the case without proper preparation, and is facing the consequences now. I just have one advice for Oracle. Stop already, and leave with the patents you can still call yours.