Google Loses Patience in Oracle Smartphone War

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Google has scoffed at its competitor’s attempt to retry claims that Android smartphone infringes on copyrights owned by Oracle.



     Oracle filed the motion in June after U.S. District Judge William Alsup handed down final judgment for Google in the tangled case.
     Though a jury had found that Google developed its Android operating system by partly infringing on copyrighted Java owned by Oracle, Alsup set that verdict aside after deciding that the application programming interfaces (APIs) at issue were not copyrightable.
     Alsup also upheld the same jury’s unanimous decision that Google did not infringe any of Oracle’s patents in Android. Per an agreement worked out between the two tech companies at the end of the patent-infringement phase of the trial, Alsup handed Oracle a judgment of zero dollars in damages.
     On Thursday, Google urged Alsup to reject Oracle’s motion for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial.
     The motion “relies on conclusions from disputed evidence that are not taken in the light most favorable to the jury’s verdict, ignores evidence supporting the jury’s verdict, addresses legal issues that were never put to the jury in the first place, and asks the court to rule on several issues that are now moot,” according to the 30-page argument authored by lead Google attorney Robert Van Nest.
     The Keker & Van Nest partner says that Oracle’s summary judgment motion fails on every level. And to the issue of Java file copyrights – which Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2010 – Van Nest says they were never copyrighted at all.
     “Google raised a continuing issue of ownership only because Oracle persuaded the court (over Google’s objections) that it could submit to the jury infringement ‘claims’ based on the eleven individual files – less than the entire platform works in which the copyrights were registered,” Van Nest wrote. “The copyrights in those individual files were not separately registered with the Copyright Office, and no presumption therefore applies to them. Oracle failed to introduce any evidence that Oracle was the author of or the owner of the copyright rights in any of those eleven individual files; there was simply no testimony from any witness on that issue and therefore no issue for the jury to decide.”
     Van Nest also pointed out that the motion could be moot if another jury found that Java functioning in the Android was fair use, instead of de minimis, as the first jury found, or not copyrightable, as Alsup found.
     Since a jury cleared Google of any patent infringement, Oracle is also wrong in asking for summary judgment on that basis, according to Google.
     The tech giant stood by its defenses, equitable estoppel and laches – both of which Alsup rejected unless and until the case is remanded.
     “There are no grounds for amending the court’s equitable estoppel or laches findings.” Van Nest wrote. “All of the arguments and specific evidence in Oracle’s renewed motion appeared either in Oracle’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law or in its earlier JMOL motions, and Google therefore incorporates by reference the evidence and argument in its responses to those filings. Oracle previously failed to persuade the court that a preemptive finding in Oracle’s favor is warranted on these issues. There is no reason that it should prevail now.”
     Even if the court did agree to look at estoppel and laches, Google says there is sufficient evidence to show that Google had tried to engage Sun Microsystems in licensing talks, and that Sun knew and approved of the use of the Java APIs in the Android.
     “Oracle has failed to show that either the jury’s verdict or the court’s own rulings are erroneous in any way, let alone that they are ‘against the weight of the evidence,'” Van Nest wrote. “Accordingly, Oracle’s alternative request for a new trial should be denied. … Oracle simply contends that it ‘is entitled to a new trial for all the same reasons it is entitled to JMOL.'”
     “For all the reasons explained above, Oracle is not entitled to JMOL, and therefore is not entitled to a new trial on any issue,” the brief concludes.
     A hearing on Oracle’s summary judgment motion is set for July 26.

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