Google, Oracle Ordered To Discuss Patent Settlements Before Trial
Ahead of a Java’s patent lawsuit against Google scheduled for April 16, a judge ordered on Friday that executives from both companies convene in order to discuss a potential settlement. Despite previous failed attempts to arrive at a settlement, Judge Paul Grewal of U.S. District Court in Northern California has ordered that the settlement conference take place “no later than April 9, 2012” and must at least include the presence of Oracle President Safra Catz and Google Senior Vice President (and former Android CEO) Andy Rubin.
The lawsuit stems from Oracle’s accusation that Google’s Android platform uses Oracle’s Java technology in such a way that violates Oracle’s patents. Google has denied any patent or copyright violation. The two companies have met before to attempt to agree on a settlement. Many of those meetings included Google CEO Larry Page and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, but the companies couldn’t arrive on any kind of agreement. It would appear that the judge believes that a meeting of two different executives from the respective companies might yield fresh results since previous meetings between Ellison and Page didn’t lead to any settlements.
According to Ars Technica, Oracle claims that Google has violated two patents it owns – a claim that has been scaled down from an original claim of seven. One patent is for a system that improves on “conventional systems for initializing static arrays by reducing the amount of code executed by the virtual machine to statically initialize an array” whereas the second one is “a hybrid compiler-interpreter comprising a compiler for ‘compiling’ source program code.” At the essence of the patent lawsuit, Oracle claims its copyright on APIs have been violated by Google; alternately, Google is sticking to the argument that APIs aren’t copyrightable.
Google’s been defending itself in the realm of patents for some time now, most notably against accusations from Apple that the Android platform violates several of Apple’s copyrights. Apple offered to settle with two companies that make Android-supported devices, Motorola Mobility (owned by Google) and Samsung. And, to make sure no tech company is left out of the patent wars, Microsoft filed formal complaints to the European Union in February over the licensing fee Motorola Mobility charges for use of its technology.