An report that Oracle filed in its giant lawsuit against Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has been thrown out; and the judge overseeing the case has issued an order noting that the range of damage payments it suggested-from $1.9 billion to $6.1 billion-is completely out of whack. Oracle will get to re-do its damage report and the judge strongly suggesting that it should take $100 million as a starting point.
This whole exercise is just a damage report-and Google hasn’t even been found to infringe these patents, and may be liable for no damages at all. But what’s in the report does matter-in the event of a trial it will be presented to a jury, and in any case, it indicates what Oracle thinks it deserves-or simply can get-from Google in this battle.
The $100 million can be adjusted up or down for a variety of factors, but it’s quite clear the judge expects to see a damage demand from Oracle for well under the “billion” mark, and it will be interesting to see if the lawyers in the case can deal with those kind of reduced expectations. U.S. District Judge William Alsup has said the first report was a major “overreach,” and if he sees such behavior again, he’ll throw out this report without giving Oracle’s team a chance to amend it.
However, it wasn’t all good news for Google. Alsup repeated in his order that “[t]here is a substantial possibility that a permanent injunction will be granted in the even infringement is found, especially if willfulness is proven.”
Oracle acquired thousands of patents related to Java when it acquired Sun Microsystems last year, and it has used those patents to go on the warpath against Google’s Android operating system. There are a variety of “proxy” patent battles against Android brought by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), and various patent trolls; but Oracle’s is the only direct attack on Google.
At this point, the case is still set for trial in San Francisco at the end of October.