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Oracle’s Great Suit Against Google to Go to Trial

If Oracle proves infringement then it could get an injunction, which is the leverage it’s really seeking

Monday April 16 is the start of what the judge has called the "World Series of IP cases," an eight-week trial in which Oracle will seek to prove that APIs are copyrightable and that Google infringed 37 Java APIs when it spun up Android.

The trick for Oracle, the judge said, will be convincing a jury that a programming language in the public domain can be infringed.

Oracle, on the other hand, will be able to show the jury the now famous 2010 Tim Lindholm e-mail in which the Google engineer flatly told Google's founders they needed to negotiate a Java license lest they infringe. All the alternatives, he said, "suck."

The judge has previously told Google this e-mail is a hot potato that could burn them.

If Oracle proves infringement then it could get an injunction, which is the leverage it's really seeking, according to FOSS Patents, not any of the wildly divergent damages estimates that have emerged during the long lead-up to the trial.

The blog, however, allows that the disgorgement of profits rule that's part and parcel of copyright law could be sweet.

Bloomberg took a gander at some recent filings and discovered that according to Oracle 95% of Android phones active around the end of March contained copied code. Google retorted that only a little bit of the 15 million lines of Android are alleged to have been copied; it removed the questionable code in the last rev of the operating system.

There are supposed to upwards of 150 million Android devices out there.

Oracle's still got two Java patent left in the suit and a court-appointed expert reportedly estimated they're worth $2.8 billion in damages. His report hasn't been made public. Oracle and Google both disagree.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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