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Judge tells Oracle to rethink Google Java damages claim

Billy MacInnes

court hemera technologies.jpgA United States District Court Judge has dismissed Oracle's initial damages estimate for its Java patent case against Google after accusing the company of over-reaching in multiple ways with the "goal of seeing how much it could get away with".

Oracle had submitted a damages report prepared by Dr Iain M Cockburn, professor of finance and economics at Boston University, which suggested damages should be at least $1.4bn and could reach as high as $6.1bn for Google's use of Java patents in the Android operating system.

District Judge William Alsup disagreed with the report's findings, arguing Oracle should take $100m, the sum which Java's original owner Sun proposed to Google in 2006, as its starting point.

He also warned Oracle that if its next damages report "fails to measure up in any substantial and unseverable way...then it may be excluded altogether without leave to try again".

Alsup's decision was not entirely happy reading for Google. He accused the search giant of "Soviet style negotiation" in its original discussions with Sun because it had rejected a proposal that amounted to around $100m but argued it should serve as the ceiling for any negotiation.

"In other words," Judge Alsup writes, "since Google rejected the offer, the rejected offer must serve as a ceiling for the hypothetical negotiation, or so Google argues. This would be a Soviet-style negotiation: "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable"."

Photo courtesy: Hemera Technologies/ThinkStock


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