Oracle Suffers Java Patent Rejection In Android Case


Oracle has suffered an embarrassing setback in its patent fight over Java against Google’s Android

Google received some welcome news in its patent battle with Oracle, after the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a final rejection of one of the patents Oracle raised in the case.

On 20 December the USPTO rejected patent number 6192476, which was up for re-examination at Google’s request, according to 9to5 Google, which referred to a citation from Groklaw.

Oracle claimed Google had infringed on seven of its patents for Java technology that the database giant had acquired in its purchase of Sun Microsystems in January 2010.

Patent Rejection

Initially, Oracle asserted 132 claims against those seven patents, but upon request by the judge on the case, US District Judge William Alsup, the company cut those claims down to an interim short list of 50 claims. Groklaw reports that only one of those claims for patent 6192476, claim 14, was asserted by Oracle in the litigation. And claim 14 was denied by the USPTO.

In a preliminary finding, the USPTO rejected 17 of the 21 claims in the patent, and then made that rejection final with its 20 December filing. Oracle has until 20 February, 2012, to seek reconsideration or appeal of the USPTO action.

Judge Alsup has instructed Oracle to limit the number of claims it brings to trial. From the short list of 50, Oracle still hopes to bring 21 patent claims to trial, said Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. Judge Alsup had tentatively proposed that Oracle only bring three patent claims to trial.

Quick Decision

A speedy trial is what Oracle wants. According to court documents filed 19 December, Oracle came out pushing for a trial as early as January in its antitrust case against Google claiming that Java is losing ground to Google’s Android, and the faster Oracle can seek relief the better.

In a 20 December post about the filing, Mueller said Oracle and Google filed a joint pretrial statement to Judge Alsup detailing their request for a trial date, among other things. Oracle asked for a trial to start as early as January. Google said it could be ready for a trial as late as July 2012.

A trial in the case was initially slated for the end of October 2011, but the court had a scheduling conflict.

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