Oracle gambled on its right to assert a patent in the trial against Google and today it lost. U.S. District Judge William Alsup said the U.S. Patent & Trademark office decision allowing the patent came “a few days too late.”
Oracle originally sued Google alleging infringement of seven Java-related patents in Google’s Android operating system. In addition, it raised copyright claims. Google had asked the patent office to reconsider in a processing known as reexamination.
Five of the patents were invalidated prior to April 16 start of the copyright and patent trial. Two patent claims remain in the case.
Oracle appealed the negative patent office decisions. But it gambled on getting rulings before the start of trial and agreed that it would drop any patents from the suit that were not decided before the start of trial.
On April 16 the trial got under way and a few days later the patent office ruled in Oracle’s favor on its patent known as #702.
The company wanted the patent claim to remain against Google arguing that Alsup had broken the trial into three phases and the patent phase had not begun.
“Oracle’s argument that the patent ‘trial’ has not yet started is wrong,” Alsup wrote Wednesday.
The trial started April 16, he said. “This is not only the plain meaning of the term but any other interpretation would inject great prejudice given that the parties have reliedon issues to be tried and that reliance should not be turned on its head in mid-trial,” he said.
Jurors are currently pondering Oracle’s copyright claims and may well begin to deliberate next week on those issues. Once resolved, the patent phase of the case will start. If Google is found liable for an copyright or patent violations the jurors will consider damages in a third phase.
The trial has already seen the CEO’s of both companies testify, Larry Ellison of Oracle and Larry Page of Google.
Case: Oracle v. Google, No. C10-3561WHA