Google and Oracle Criticized by Judge in Patent Case
On 05.08.11, In Legal Industry, by Blake Houser
A judge in charge of Oracle’s patent infringement case hinted that it may have to lower down its multi-billion dollar damage suit against the Android OS of Google. This is an indication of possible limitations of patent-related cases in the tech industry.
In a court hearing yesterday, Judge William Alsup chided both tech-giants for taking irrational positions in their high-stakes legal dispute, where Oracle charged Google of infringing Java patents in its Android OS. Oracle is asking for damages amounting to $2.6 billion.
“You’re both asking for the moon and you should be more reasonable,” Judge Alsup said.
This frank comments made by the judge may indicate a mounting impatience over the escalation of patent-related disputes in the tech industry, often used to either cripple rivals of secure large royalty payments.
The case of Oracle against Google is one of the highly-watched in the increasing web of litigation among telecommunication companies and software developer, as tech-giants clash over the patents used in software-focused smartphones and tablets. Almost every major tech-company is involved in a patent-related lawsuit with another company.
A win against Google is being hoped for by Oracle, but the questioning and comments of Judge Alsup may potentially tone down its billion-dollar damage claim.
During yesterday’s hearing, Alsup thoroughly questioned the attorney for Oracle, Steven Holtzman, regarding the damages estimates of Oracle, noting that the expert who came up with an initial estimate of $6 billion was paid by Oracle at an astounding $700 an hour.
The judge also expressed his disappointment with Oracle when the tech-giant’s legal counsel tried to avoid talking openly in court about some financial details.
Alsup said, “This is public proceeding. You lawyers and companies are not going to handcuff the court. This is not a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle Corp.”