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25 May 12 Google didn’t infringe on Oracle patents, jury rules


A federal jury ruled Wednesday that Google didn’t infringe on Oracle’s patents when the Internet search leader developed its popular Android software for mobile devices.

Wednesday’s verdict comes about two weeks after the same jury, with two additional members, failed to agree on a pivotal issue in Oracle’s copyright-infringement case against Google. As a result, Google Inc. faced maximum damages of only $150,000 – not the hundreds of millions of dollars that Oracle Corp. was seeking.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the jury, skipping the damages phase that had been originally scheduled. Had Oracle been able to pursue damages, confidential documents detailing how much money Google makes from its Android software might have become public.

The outcome ends, for now, a showdown pitting two Silicon Valley titans in a courtroom duel that brought Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page to the witness stand during the 5 1/2-week trial.

SUMMARY

TECH TRIAL OF THE CENTURY: Oracle has accused Google of patent infringement over Google’s Android, the mobile OS that now powers more than 300 million smartphones and tablets.

Jan. 27, 2010: Oracle closes deal to buy Sun Microsystems, gets the Java programming language.

Aug. 12: Oracle sues Google in U.S. District Court, says Android infringes on Java.

Sept. 12, 2011: Company CEOs are ordered to attend mediation to settle the lawsuit.

March 27, 2012: In a joint statement, companies say they are hundreds of millions of dollars apart.

April 16: Trial begins. Oracle says Google knew they stole a key piece of tech.

April 17: Google’s opening statements frame the case as Oracle’s response to its own failure to build mobile software.

April 18: Google’s Larry Page returns to the witness stand, looking uncomfortable as he deflected questions about his role. 

May 1: Lawyers make closing arguments on the copyright issues. Judge sends case to jury for deliberation.

May 7: In a partial verdict, the jury found that Google infringed on the largest of Oracle’s claims, but it couldn’t agree on whether Google’s use was legally protected “fair use.

In vindicating Google, the jury delivered a humbling setback to Oracle. The world’s leading maker of database software had accused Google of building Android around Oracle’s copyrighted and patented Java programming system. Oracle inherited the rights to Java in a $7.3 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010.

During the copyright phase of the trial, the jury ruled against Google on a key question related to Java’s “application programming interfaces,” or APIs, that provide the blueprints for making much of the software work effectively. Although the jury found that Google infringed on those APIs, it reached an impasse on whether Google was covered under “fair use” protections in U.S. law. The lack of a fair-use determination hobbled Oracle’s ability to extract huge sums from Google.

The jury found that Android infringed on nine lines of Java coding, but the penalty for that violation is confined to statutory damages no higher than $150,000.

In the second phase of the trial, the jury considered Oracle’s allegations that Android violated two Java patents. The jury said Wednesday that Google had violated neither. The patent case was considered to be worth far less to Oracle than the allegations of copyright infringement.

In a statement, Google said Wednesday’s verdict “was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem.” Oracle countered with a statement asserting it had “presented overwhelming evidence at trial that Google knew it would fragment and damage Java.” Oracle didn’t say whether it intended to appeal the jury’s verdict.

Although Alsup dismissed the jury, the case still has a few potential twists.

Google has filed for a mistrial on the API ruling. Google argues that the law doesn’t allow an infringement finding if the fair use question isn’t answered. If mistrial is granted, the allegations could be re-examined by a new jury.

Alsup also will rule on whether the law even allows APIs to be copyrighted – an issue being closely watched by computer programmers. If Alsup finds APIs can be copyrighted, Oracle could still pursue a portion of Google’s Android profits, but obtaining a large award might still be difficult as long as the fair-use question is unresolved.

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/05/24/google-didnt-infringe-on-oracle-patents-jury-rules/

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08 May 12 Jury favors Oracle in mega-millions Android lawsuit — sort of


The tech trial of the century is wrapping up — but the winner is anyone’s guess. 

Oracle had been seeking up to $1 billion in damages on copyright claims after alleging that Google built its popular Android mobile software by stealing some of the technology from Java, a programming platform that Oracle Corp. bought two years ago.

In delivering a partial verdict Monday, the jury found that Google infringed on the largest of Oracle’s claims, but it couldn’t agree on whether Google’s use was legally protected “fair use.” 

SUMMARY

TECH TRIAL OF THE CENTURY: Oracle has accused Google of patent infringement over Google’s Android, the mobile OS that now powers more than 300 million smartphones and tablets.

Jan. 27, 2010: Oracle closes deal to buy Sun Microsystems, gets the Java programming language.

Aug. 12: Oracle sues Google in U.S. District Court, says Android infringes on Java.

Sept. 12, 2011: Company CEOs are ordered to attend mediation to settle the lawsuit.

March 27, 2012: In a joint statement, companies say they are far apart. Oracle seeks hundreds of millions in damages, Google won’t pay more than a few million.

April 16: Trial begins. In opening statements, Oracle says Google’s top executives have long known that they stole a key piece of tech.

April 17: Google’s opening statements frame the case as Oracle’s response to its own failure to build mobile software. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison admits he wanted to compete before deciding instead to sue Google.

April 18: Google’s Larry Page returns to the witness stand, looking uncomfortable as he deflected questions about his role. 

May 1: Lawyers make closing arguments on the copyright issues. Judge sends case to jury for deliberation.

Without that determination, it will be difficult for Oracle to win major damages — making the ruling a victory of sorts for the company, but one that will clearly frustrate.

“We appreciate the jury’s efforts, and know that fair use and infringement are two sides of the same coin,” a Google spokeswoman told FoxNews.com. “The core issue is whether the APIs here are copyrightable, and that’s for the court to decide.”

The company remained optimistic the mixed ruling. 

“We expect to prevail on this issue and Oracle’s other claims,” she said.

The jury also found that Google infringed on Oracle’s copyright on nine lines of Java code that is in Android, but Oracle can only go after statutory damages on that one. Those damages can range from $200 to $150,000 — peanuts relative to Oracle’s goals in the case.

Oracle did not immediately respond to FoxNews.com requests for comment.

Meanwhile, Google is moving for a mistrial.

Google has argued that it only used parts of Java that have always been freely available.

The same jury will now hear evidence in the next phase of the trial, covering Oracle’s allegations that Android violates two Java patents. Those claims are believed to be worth considerably less to Oracle than the hundreds of millions of dollars in damages that it had hoped to extract from Google had it prevailed on all of its all of its allegations of copyright infringement.

Oracle bought Sun and Sun’s Java technology in early 2010. Later that year, Oracle sued Google, alleging Android infringes copyrights and patents that protect Java. 

The companies went to trial in San Francisco earlier this month. And Oracle’s case had initially appeared rock solid.

Ahead of testimony by senior executive Larry Ellison, Oracle released a series of quotes from senior Google executives suggesting they knew they were treading on thin legal ice.

“If Sun doesn’t want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work … -or- 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way,” Google senior vice president of mobile Andy Rubin reportedly emailed to co-founder Larry Page on Oct. 11, 2005.

Rubin then suggested to Page that the company pay Sun for a license to the technology — an action Google never took. Subsequent emails appear to show various Google employees covering up the use of Java.

“How aggressive do we scrub the J word?,” former Google software engineer Dan Bornstein apparently wrote.

It seems the jury had questions as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/05/07/google-oracle-jury-reaches-impasse-on-key-issue/

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18 Apr 12 Oracle skewers Google as Android trial opens


Oracle began Monday trying to convince a jury that Google’s top executives have long known that they stole a key piece of technology to build the Android software that now powers more than more than 300 million smartphones and tablet computers.

The unflattering portrait of Google was drawn by Oracle lawyer Michael Jacobs in the opening phase of a complex trial pitting two Silicon Valley powerhouses in a battle delving into the often mind-numbing minutiae of intellectual property and computer coding.

“We will prove to you from beginning to end … that Google knew it was using someone else’s property,” Jacobs said near the end of his hour-long opening statement.

‘We will prove to you from beginning to end … that Google knew it was using someone else’s property.’

- Oracle lawyer Michael Jacobs

Google’s lawyers will counter with their opening statements Tuesday.

The showdown in a San Francisco federal court centers on Oracle’s allegations that Google’s Android software infringes on the patents and copyrights of Java, a programming technology that Sun Microsystems began developing 20 years ago.

Oracle Corp., a business software maker based in Redwood Shores, acquired the rights to Java when it bought Sun Microsystems for $7.3 billion in January 2010.

Google Inc., the Mountain View, California-based Internet search leader, has steadfastly denied Oracle’s allegations since the lawsuit was filed seven months after the Sun deal closed.

The impasse has left it to a 12-member jury to resolve the dispute in a trial scheduled to last as long as 10 weeks. U.S. District Judge William Alsup devoted most of Monday’s session to picking the jury, leaving only enough time for Oracle to lay out the framework for its case.

Oracle is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and an injunction that would force Google to pay future licensing fees or find an alternative to Java to keep its Android system running smoothly.

At one point in the lawsuit, Oracle estimated it might be owed as much as $6.1 billion. But Alsup has whittled the case down in a way that has substantially lowered the size of the potential payout if Google loses.

In a sign of how far apart the two sides are, Google last month said it would be willing to pay $2.8 million plus a tiny percentage of its future revenue if the jury decides Android infringed on two Java patents. Google hasn’t publicly estimated what it thinks its liability might be if the jury decides Android violated 37 Java programming copyrights as alleged by Oracle.

The copyright disagreement — the most important point of the case — will be covered in the first phase of the trial followed by the patent dispute. If necessary, a third phase will be devoted to how much money Google owes Oracle.

Much of the evidence presented during the trial will delve into highly technical fare likely only to appeal to programming geeks and patent-law aficionados. However, there may be dramatic interludes that lift a veil on the inner workings of two of the world’s most influential technology companies.

The intrigue will include testimony from the two companies’ multibillionaire CEOs, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Google’s Larry Page. Oracle indicated on Monday that it could call Ellison to the stand as early as Tuesday.

Several other industry luminaries, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz, are also on the list of potential witnesses.

Jacobs focused much of his opening statement on excerpts in internal emails that suggest Google knew it needed to pay licensing fees to use some of the Java technology that went into Android, a project that began in earnest in 2005 when Google bought a startup run by Andy Rubin. The first phone running on Android software didn’t go on sale until October 2008, about 15 months before Oracle bought Sun Microsystems and stepped up the attempts to make Google pay up for the Java technology.

Oracle cited an October 2005 email from Rubin to Page as an early sign that Google realized it probably would have to pay Sun for using Java in Android.

“My proposal is that we take a license that specifically grants the right for us to Open Source our product,” Rubin wrote.

Jacobs pointed to a May 2006 email from Schmidt to Rubin as an indication that Google knew it might need to seek other solutions for Android if it couldn’t work out an agreement with Sun.

“How are we doing on the Sun deal?” Schmidt asked in his message. “Its (sic) it time to develop a non-Java solution to avoid dealing with them?”

By August 2010, Google still hadn’t been able to find any satisfactory alternatives to Java, according to an email that Google engineer Tim Lindholm sent to Rubin.

“We have been over a bunch of these, and think they all suck,” wrote Lindholm, who worked at Sun Microsystems before joining Google. “We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need.”

The lack of a licensing agreement ultimately didn’t deter Google, Jacobs told the jury, because the company realized it needed a mobile software system to preserve its digital search-and-advertising empire as more sophisticated phones enabled more people to surf the Internet while they were away from their desktop computers. 

Java provided Google with a springboard into mobile computing because 6 million software programmers were already familiar with the technology and could easily create applications that would run on Android, Jacobs said.

Although Google doesn’t charge device makers to use Android, the company makes money from some of the mobile advertising and mobile applications sold on the system. Google has said its mobile advertising revenue now exceeds $2.5 billion, but it hasn’t specified how much of that money comes from Android-powered devices.

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/04/18/oracle-skewers-google-as-android-trial-opens/

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17 Apr 12 Oracle skewers Google at Android trial


The unflattering portrait of Google was drawn by Oracle lawyer Michael Jacobs in the opening phase of a complex trial pitting two Silicon Valley powerhouses in a battle delving into the often mind-numbing minutiae of intellectual property and computer coding.

“We will prove to you from beginning to end … that Google knew it was using someone else’s property,” Jacobs said near the end of his hour-long opening statement.

Google’s lawyers will counter with their opening statements Tuesday.

The showdown in a San Francisco federal court centers on Oracle’s allegations that Google’s Android software infringes on the patents and copyrights of Java, a programming technology that Sun Microsystems began developing 20 years ago.

Oracle, a business software maker based in Redwood Shores, acquired the rights to Java when it bought Sun Microsystems for $7.3 billion in January 2010.

Google, the Mountain View, California-based Internet search leader, has steadfastly denied Oracle’s allegations since the lawsuit was filed seven months after the Sun deal closed.

The impasse has left it to a 12-member jury to resolve the dispute in a trial scheduled to last as long as 10 weeks. U.S. District Judge William Alsup devoted most of Monday’s session to picking the jury, leaving only enough time for Oracle to lay out the framework for its case.

Oracle is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and an injunction that would force Google to pay future licensing fees or find an alternative to Java to keep its Android system running smoothly.

At one point in the lawsuit, Oracle estimated it might be owed as much as $6.1 billion. But Alsup has whittled the case down in a way that has substantially lowered the size of the potential payout if Google loses.

In a sign of how far apart the two sides are, Google last month said it would be willing to pay $2.8 million plus a tiny percentage of its future revenue if the jury decides Android infringed on two Java patents. Google hasn’t publicly estimated what it thinks its liability might be if the jury decides Android violated 37 Java programming copyrights as alleged by Oracle.

The copyright disagreement — the most important point of the case — will be covered in the first phase of the trial followed by the patent dispute. If necessary, a third phase will be devoted to how much money Google owes Oracle.

Much of the evidence presented during the trial will delve into highly technical fare likely only to appeal to programming geeks and patent-law aficionados. However, there may be dramatic interludes that lift a veil on the inner workings of two of the world’s most influential technology companies.

The intrigue will include testimony from the two companies’ multibillionaire CEOs, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Google’s Larry Page. Oracle indicated on Monday that it could call Ellison to the stand as early as Tuesday.

Several other industry luminaries, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz, are also on the list of potential witnesses.

Jacobs focused much of his opening statement on excerpts in internal emails that suggest Google knew it needed to pay licensing fees to use some of the Java technology that went into Android, a project that began in earnest in 2005 when Google bought a startup run by Andy Rubin. The first phone running on Android software didn’t go on sale until October 2008, about 15 months before Oracle bought Sun Microsystems and stepped up the attempts to make Google pay up for the Java technology.

Oracle cited an October 2005 email from Rubin to Page as an early sign that Google realized it probably would have to pay Sun for using Java in Android.

“My proposal is that we take a license that specifically grants the right for us to Open Source our product,” Rubin wrote.

Jacobs pointed to a May 2006 email from Schmidt to Rubin as an indication that Google knew it might need to seek other solutions for Android if it couldn’t work out an agreement with Sun.

“How are we doing on the Sun deal?” Schmidt asked in his message. “Its (sic) it time to develop a non-Java solution to avoid dealing with them?”

By August 2010, Google still hadn’t been able to find any satisfactory alternatives to Java, according to an email that Google engineer Tim Lindholm sent to Rubin.

“We have been over a bunch of these, and think they all suck,” wrote Lindholm, who worked at Sun Microsystems before joining Google. “We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need.”

The lack of a licensing agreement ultimately didn’t deter Google, Jacobs told the jury, because the company realized it needed a mobile software system to preserve its digital search-and-advertising empire as more sophisticated phones enabled more people to surf the Internet while they were away from their desktop computers. Java provided Google with a springboard into mobile computing because 6 million software programmers were already familiar with the technology and could easily create applications that would run on Android, Jacobs said.

Although Google doesn’t charge device makers to use Android, the company makes money from some of the mobile advertising and mobile applications sold on the system. Google has said its mobile advertising revenue now exceeds $2.5 billion, but it hasn’t specified how much of that money comes from Android-powered devices.

Article source: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-04-16/oracle-google-trial/54331658/1

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06 Apr 12 Google Rethinks Price, Specs On Android Tablet


10 Things Tablets Still Can't Do
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Google has decided to make changes to its co-branded Android tablet. Citing a source familiar with Google’s plans, The Verge today reports that the current design of the tablet had been nearly final, but Google now wants to lower the price point further, which will lead to design, component, and specification alterations.

The Verge‘s source said that the original target price of Google’s first co-branded tablet was $249–half the cost of the entry-level Apple iPad and competitive with products such as the Amazon Kindle Fire. The tablet, which is being built by Asustek, will reportedly have a seven-inch display, Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and Wi-Fi (only) for internet connectivity.

Now Google wants to drop the price from $249 to $199 or less.

This gels with what The Wall Street Journal reported last week: Google wants to win tablet market share from Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle, and to do that it will sell devices that are co-branded with its hardware manufacturer partners. Rather than sell just one Google-branded tablet from a single OEM, the search giant will offer several devices from a variety of manufacturers.

[ The pace of mobile innovation has never been greater, according to Google's Larry Page. Read more at Google's Page: 'Android Is On Fire'. ]

The Journal listed Motorola (which Google is in the process of acquiring), Samsung, and Asus as possible hardware partners, noting that the companies would be responsible for designing the tablet. Asus, according to the Journal and The Verge, is on deck to offer the first tablet and will likely have an exclusive spot as the lone device available for a short time.

In addition to offering the tablet at a low price point, it is possible that Google will launch an online store to sell the tablet directly to consumers rather than through wireless network operators. Wireless network operators have not had much success selling subsidized tablets to consumers, mainly due to the financial burden necessitated by the required two-year contracts.

Looking at the specs and features listed by The Verge, Google could get things right with this phantom Android tablet. The smaller display size has several advantages. It would require less power, allow the device to be smaller and more portable, and work well with scaled-up Android smartphone applications. The key component, however, is the Tegra 3 quad-core processor. I’ve used the HTC One X with the Tegra 3 for several weeks now and can attest to this chip’s computing prowess. It delivers incredible performance and manages to sip power at the same time.

Sticking to Wi-Fi as the sole means of connecting to the Internet is also essential to keeping the cost low. This approach should be just fine for most users, as very few people use wireless broadband networks to browse on their tablets. The vast majority of tablet users browse via Wi-Fi.

As long as the display of this unnamed, unannounced device isn’t garbage and battery life is decent, it could be just what Google needs to gain traction in the tablet market.

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Article source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/handheld/232800420

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