In 2010 Oracle Corp. initiated monumental litigation against Google, Inc. Oracle alleges, among other things, that Google's Android mobile operating system infringes upon its Java patents, which Oracle acquired alongside Sun Microsystems.
Oracle originally asserted 132 claims, but the judge overseeing the case dramatically reduced this number to three. This reduction was an initial victory for Google, but should it lose at trial, the company could still face billions of dollars in damages.
Assuming no significant setbacks or settlements, this case is anticipated to be before a jury in November 2011.
Seriousness of Java Patent Infringements
According to Java's website, Java is "integral to the internet applications and e-business solutions that are the foundation of corporate computing." Over 1.1 billion desktops run Java applications, 3 billion mobile phones run Java, and every Blu-ray player ever made has run its programs.
Due to Java's extensive presence in the world of computing and mobile devices, it is a significant and costly development should another company infringe upon one of the pertinent patents.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup has ordered Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page to continue settlement discussions as trial nears. The two men are not expected to come to an agreement. Forced settlement conferences are not as effective as when two parties mutually agree to negotiate and sincerely work towards a solution.
It is believed that Oracle initially sought between $2 billion and $6 billion in damages, while Google believes $100 million is an accurate measure of damages. Oracle has since reduced its demand, but it seems the gap in damage valuation will be too drastic for the companies to overcome.
Both companies have a lot to lose or gain in the next several weeks. Given Java's prevalence at home, at work, and for on-the-go mobile devices, the outcome of this lawsuit may have a direct impact on everyone and ultimately will be one of the most important business trials during the next few years.