updated 08:50 am EDT, Mon April 23, 2012
Oracle gets revalidated patent claim
Oracle may get a significant weapon in its ongoing lawsuit against Google over Java use in Android. In an unusual Sunday legal brief caught by Florian Mueller, Oracle told presiding Judge William Alsup that a US patent's rejection, which had lead to a streamlined case, had several of its claims reinstated. The notice didn't constitute a formal notice of action.
Whether or not Oracle can use the patent against Google isn't certain. The unique three-phase nature of the trial, called for by Google, could work against the search firm by giving Oracle an opportunity to reintroduce the claim. Proceedings are currently only discussing copyright disputes, which would let Oracle bring back the patent into the second or third phases without affecting any ongoing parts of the case.
If reintroduced and not rebuffed by Google, the patent could magnify the damages Google might have to pay. The company may have difficulty opposing any motion, as the patent claims brought back couldn't be contested again.
Oracle has insisted that Google copied code for Android's Java-derived engine that required a commercial license. Google has claimed innocence, saying that it only used elements of a free Java license and that programming interfaces can't be copyrighted.