Oracle’s $1 billion suit against Google stuck in neutral

The intellectual property war between Oracle Corp. and Google has subsided, at least for now. A jury in a federal California court ruled that Oracle’s patents were not infringed upon by Google’s Android operating system.

The news came from the same jury that agreed Oracle had made a case for copyright infringement on its Java programming language but could not decide whether Google broke any laws by using it. Oracle wants $1 billion in damages for its copyright claims.

Google officials held to the position that the company did not infringe on Oracle’s patents or copyrights. Google claims Oracle cannot copyright Java in its entirety because the software programming language is available to the public.

Oracle turned down an offer by Google to settle its arguments over two patents before the trial began. The search engine agreed to give Oracle 0.5 percent of the revenues it receives for Android until the end of 2012 to cover one patent. A second patent payment of 0.015 percent would have been in effect for six years, until 2018.

It is possible now that Oracle wishes that it had considered Google’s settlement a bit more carefully. The patent agreement was small compared to what Oracle wanted in court, but accepting a piece of the Android pie would have guaranteed the company at least $2.8 million.

Android’s first-quarter revenue in 2010 was estimated by the court to exceed $97 million.

Oracle’s copyright case against Google started in 2010. The judge in the case is expected to have more to say about the copyright clash between the two technology titans. His judgments will influence how, and if, both parties proceed in the intellectual property dispute.

Source: Reuters, “Jury sides with Google in Oracle patent case,” May 23, 2012