updated 11:10 pm EDT, Wed April 25, 2012
Oracle told patent is too late to be used
Oracle saw a significant setback Wednesday after Judge William Alsup ruled (below) that the company couldn't use a revived Java patent against Google. He told the database firm that, as the trial had already started before the patent had been put back into effect, Oracle couldn't use the claim as part of the proceedings. If Oracle had been given permission, it would inherently bias the trial by forcing Google to defend against claims it was told wouldn't be factors.
"Any other interpretation [of when the trial started] would inject great prejudice given that the parties have relied on the issues to be tried and that reliance should not be turned on its head in mid-trial," Judge Alsup wrote in his order.
The order will prevent any surprises for Google, but doesn't escape larger questions of licensing that could see it pay a fine in the tens of millions or, in more extreme circumstances, risk a ban on certain versions of Android. Most testimony to date has seen Google executives and engineers either argue that they used strictly free-to-use parts of Java for Android or argue that Oracle was misinterpreting internal Google e-mail saying the company likely needed to pay for a license.
If faced with an injunction delivering a ban, Google would be exempt from disputes surrounding Android 4.0, which removed most if not all of the code at the heart of the lawsuit. [via Wired]