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USPTO throws out several more Oracle patents, Android lawsuit almost entirely about copyright now

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USPTO throws out several more Oracle patents, Android lawsuit almost entirely about copyright now
And the hits just keep on rolling…against Oracle’s lawsuit against Android. The United States Patent and Trademark Office made a final ruling of non-validity against two more of the patents that Oracle is trying to assert, and made a preliminary indication that a third also is not valid.

Of the seven patents originally asserted against Google, two were withdrawn by Oracle, and four have been found to be not valid, leaving Oracle with a single patent remaining for trial. In theory Oracle can still try to assert the patents if it wants to try and appeal the rulings, but a jury is unlikely to be impressed by an argument that Android is ripping off patents that the US patent office doesn’t think are valid.

While Oracle will most likely attempt to assert the single remaining patent, they still have to prove to a jury that Android actually infringes on it. Even if found to be valid AND infringed on, Oracle will probably have trouble convincing a jury that Google willfully infringed on it, since a reasonable party will be more inclined to believe Google’s claim that they didn’t think the patents were valid in light of the USPTO’s review.

Which means the current Oracle lawsuit is now really about copyright and APIs – an area that is very controversial among copyright experts. As Goklaw observed, the API’s in Android appear to be different from Java, it’s the names of the files that are the same. Some of Sun’s files were directly copied over in the AOSP code, but those copied files were not shipped in any Android device, and apparently were removed as soon as the error was pointed out.

In short, Oracle has all but lost the patent portion of the trial before it began, and is now trying to win greatly reduced damages based a controversial application of copyright law to small snippets of code. We certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Oracle could win some sort of compensation from Google, but it’s unlikely to be able to threaten Android as a platform.

We wonder if Oracle is wishing right now that they’d taken Google up on its offer to settle the lawsuit last summer…

source: FOSS Patents, Groklaw

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