Friday, July 1, 2011

USPTO Rejects Oracle's 17 Out Of 21 Android Claims

If you follow "software" patents, I hope you are tracking the Oracle v. Google case. In this lawsuit, Oracle (who purchased Sun Microsystems, who created the Java programming language) alleges that Google's Android infringes on many of the "software" patent methods used in Java. At issue is patent 6,192,476 which covers a broad method "for determining whether a principal (e.g. a thread) may access a particular resource."

Groklaw was the first to report the USPTO rejected 17 of the 21 claims in U.S. Patent No. 6,192,476, in a ruling June 16. Groklaw writes:
While Oracle has asserted seven different patents in its claims against Google, if this reexamination is exemplary of what Oracle can expect in each of the other reexaminations, Oracle will have a hard time finding claims that it can successfully assert against Google, and there lies Oracles conundrum. Oracle either has to agree with the court's directive to limit the number of claims it will assert at trial, or it is likely the court will simply stay the trial until the reexaminations are complete.
Also reported in other places, including this article from PC World:
Google had previously asked the USPTO to re-examine a number of Oracle's patents. The USPTO has rejected 17 of the 21 claims in U.S. Patent No. 6,192,476, according to a ruling dated June 16. The tech law blog Groklaw first reported the ruling on Wednesday.

The judge in the case has asked both sides to streamline the number of claims they are making, in order to make the case easier to try. A trial date has been set for Oct. 31.
An Oracle damages expert has estimated that if Google is determined to have infringed on Oracle's patents, it would owe Oracle up to US$6.1 billion, according to a recent court filing. Google has challenged the methodology Oracle's expert used.

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