06.08.12

Oracle Starts Fighting a Good Fight, Should Drop Case Against Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Oracle, Patents at 2:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Court gavel

Summary: Now that Oracle takes on Lodsys it would be wise to bury the hatchet in the case against Android

THE Ellison-led Oracle has become quite a villain for several well understood reasons. But it’s tricky when Oracle makes several GPL-licensed software releases. It’s all strategic.

Groklaw breaks the news about Oracle stepping up to fight against Lodsys, a patent troll which we wrote about many times before. To quote Pamela Jones:

The constellations have shifted again. Oracle has just sued Lodsys, seeking to invalidate four of its patents. The complaint actually claims noninfringement and invalidity.

I know. Oracle is now the good guy. Major good guy.

See why I always tell you that to avoid whiplash, don’t look at the parties in litigation and decide who you like, but anaylze the issues involved and plant your flag accordingly? Hence, here we are, on the same side of this issue, Groklaw and Oracle. Who’d-a thunk it last week?

No. The API claims in Oracle v. Google are still from the Devil, as far as I’m concerned. But now there is a new issue in new litigation, and Lodsys… well. We’ve been covering Lodsys for quite a while.

Oracle’s case against Android may have died (it is not entirely over yet) and the OIN is delighted about it for the following reasons:

The recent verdict against Oracle in its patent case against Google over Java use in Android is good news for the Linux community – and in more ways than one, according to Keith Bergelt, CEO of the Open Invention Network (OIN).

The OIN was set up in 2005 to build a defensive patent-portfolio pot that could be shared royalty-free by participants, and which could be used to ward off patent trolls and aggressive litigation against Linux. Companies such as Red Hat, Google, and IBM have put money into the venture as a way of safeguarding themselves and promoting open source code.

Last week’s verdict set an encouraging precedent, Bergelt told The Register.

“It’s a heartening sign the judge was very analytical and it wasn’t a passive case of not making a decision,” he said. “It was an affirmative decision which we should take as a positive signal to the community.”

Red Hat is happy about the ruling too. Its FOSS-savvy lawyer says:

As has been widely reported, the district court in the Oracle v. Google case has issued an order holding that the “structure, sequence and organization” (SSO) of 37 J2SE 5.0 API packages is not copyrightable. Oracle is expected to appeal.

If Oracle just lets the case rot, then maybe its image will be reformed somewhat. Oracle attacked Android when Ellison’s best friend, Steve Jobs, was still alive with his "thermonuclear" ambitions. Now that he is dead (Professor Moglen calls it a “positive event”, in part because Jobs claimed credit for things he never invented) perhaps Ellison will decided to actually do something productive, unlike Mr. Jobs.

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