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Oracle's Android Claims Cut By 98% 130

Posted by timothy
from the can't-we-call-in-some-tactical-hurricanes? dept.
tomhudson writes "Groklaw is reporting that Oracle was ordered to reduce its claims against Google from 132 to 3. In a further ruling, the judge has ordered that 129 of those claims will be permanently barred against all past and current products. Additionally, the judge has asked both sides if, in their opinion, after they have reduced the number of claims, a trial is still worth holding, or if the case is now moot."
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Oracle's Android Claims Cut By 98%

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  • From TFA: "Currently, there are 132 claims from seven patents asserted in this action, and there are hundreds of prior art references in play for invalidity defenses." What does this mean?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Which bit don't you get? Oracle made 132 claims of infringement by Google on their patents. Those 132 claims involved only 7 patents (ie. many of the claims involved the same patents). Google responded by claiming the patents were invalid, citing hundreds of examples of prior art that meant the patents should not have been granted in the first place.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think it means that there are 132 separate claims that parts of the code used by google are patented under one (or more) of the seven patents.

      If only one claim per patent was upheld, then google would still have to pay to use all 7 patents. But now its been changed such that only 3 claims are to be investigated, and only 8 claims of prior art are to be used in googles defense.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Telling Google they have to pick and choose what they can use to defend themselves isn't kosher.

        If I were Google I'd appeal this pronto.

        • by itsdapead (734413) on Friday May 06, 2011 @06:05AM (#36045572)

          Telling Google they have to pick and choose what they can use to defend themselves isn't kosher.

          Google don't need to defend themselves against the claims that have been thrown out.

          This isn't about deciding who is right, at this stage, its about cutting the case down to something that can be heard, considered properly and decided before the heat death of the universe.

          Also, its not the Judge's job to get as many patent claims overturned as possible, much as we'd like that to happen.

          • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Friday May 06, 2011 @08:10AM (#36046074)

            Google don't need to defend themselves against the claims that have been thrown out.

            The judge not only threw out claims, but also some of Google's prior art examples.

            • by AJH16 (940784)

              Right, if I have someone accusing me of A, B, C and D and I have defenses for A, B and C. Then if A, B and C are thrown out, my defenses can be too because they are no longer relevant to the case because I no longer need to defend myself. At least that is my understanding, the judge is just shrinking the body of what needs to be reviewed because he found that a number of claims had no merit and that removing those claims made some of the prior art examples unnecessary.

              • Then if A, B and C are thrown out, my defenses can be too because they are no longer relevant to the case because I no longer need to defend myself.

                That's assuming that the judge throws out your defenses for A, B and C, and none for D. For a simple case, he would probably get it right, but just imagine the following situation:

                Oracle accuses Google of A, B and C.
                Google has defense X against A, Y against A, Z against B and C, and T against C.

                Judge throws out A, B, X, Y and Z, leaving Oracle only with C, and Google only with T.

                Google has still defence T, but Z, which could also have been used against C as well is gone. So Google now has a weaker case.

                • Google has defense X against A, Y against A, Z against B and C, and T against C.

                  Judge throws out A, B, X, Y and Z, leaving Oracle only with C, and Google only with T.

                  I was told there would be no math.

                  • by suutar (1860506)
                    Actually, the judge isn't throwing out anything. He's telling Oracle "You will throw out most of these. Pick three you like." And he's telling Google "Most of this is going away. Pick 8 that you like once you know the three Oracle is going to be using." Oracle will of course pick the three that they think are the strongest, but Google can pick their 8 strongest defenses against those three.
                • The judge didn't throw out any claims or prior art. He declared that Oracle needs to cut down their claims to a total of 3, and once this has been done Google will then need to cut their instances of prior art down to 8. It is completely up to them which survive.

                  This is all clearly explained in TFA, so there is no point in speculating.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      From TFA:
      "Currently, there are 132 claims from seven patents asserted in this action, and there are hundreds of prior art references in play for invalidity defenses."

      What does this mean?

      It means that most of the claims are being defended using "prior art." An example of prior art would be like trying to file a patent for the bicycle (assuming one does not currently exist), it is obvious that the bicycle was not your idea, as someone invented, and put it into practice, long before your filing. The bicycles that were manufactured before you filed would be considered prior art.

    • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:44AM (#36045486)
      Each patent contains multiple claims (usually nested into each other like Russian dolls, from the broadest claims to the most specific). The broader variants have the advantage of striking more implementations (less easy to work around), but have the disadvantage of being more vulnerable to prior art (if they happen to cover a pre-existing implementation by somebody else). By listing multiple claims (from broadest to most specific), the patent holder gets advantages of both narrow and broad claims, without having to do any prior-art research himself.

      So, "132 claims from seven patents" just means that Oracle claimed that Android was infringing on an average of 18 claims per patents (...which were very probably very similar to each other, differing only in scope...)

      Google tried to have these claims struck by pointing out prior art (implementations that would infringe, but were actually done prior to the patent, thus showing that the patent (... or rather: the relevant claims...) was not really novel...), and found hundreds of them.

      Then the judge told both parties to "keep it simple" by only sticking to the most relevant claims and defences.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:57AM (#36045532)
        That russian doll is called 'matrushka [wikipedia.org]'.
        • Matroyshka [angryflower.com]
          • It's a word normally written in the Cyrillic alphabet. Do you really think it has a canonical representation in the Latin alphabet?

        • by Sky Cry (872584)
          Check your own link, it's Matryoshka, not "Matrushka". :)
          • by klui (457783)

            Now I learned about why MKV files were named the way it was.

          • by WhiteDragon (4556)

            Check your own link, it's Matryoshka, not "Matrushka". :)

            Funny, that link seemed to indicate it was , but yeah. :-)

            • by WhiteDragon (4556)

              d'oh, I hit preview, and I wanted to cancel editing, but accidentally hit it twice. Ok, so apparently slashcode can't handle international characters. The wikipedia article listed both romanizations though.

          • by sznupi (719324)
            The same link mentions matrioshka (brain); also points to... [www.nfb.ca] Just for a start (and version of parent poster could easily result from just being a native speaker of some Slavic language or even local dialect of Russian, influencing his chosen form of romanization)
          • by Sique (173459)

            Both are actually correct. The slawish languages are very inventive when it comes to diminuitives. Matj means mother, matka is the first diminuitive, and you can add as much syllables as you want to create further diminuitives: matryoshka, matrushenka, matryoshenshitchka...

            • It would still be be "matryoshenka", not "matrushenka". And the second one would be "matryoshenechka".

              Yes, in theory you could pile them on indefinitely, but in practice anything beyond the first degree is really only useful for purposeful exaggeration (i.e. when you're trying to draw attention to the use of diminutive).

              Also, in Russian, "matka" is not a diminutive of "mat'" (mother), albeit it is in some other Slavic languages. In Russian, it is a distinct word - with the same root - which means "uterus".

    • by azalin (67640)
      Basically they were told to sum up the most important points.
      Example (nothing to do with TFA or the case):
      Party 1 has a patent on mousebuttonhighlighting (pretty lame, but caffeine level is currently to low) and sues Party 2 for using said technique, stating each and every page ever produced by 2 as evidence
      Party 2 then states that Party 1 should never had gotten the patent in the first place, filing each and every web page using said technique before patent was granted (prior art) as evidence
      Judge say
  • by kubitus (927806) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:32AM (#36045436)
    please promote this judge to advise higher up!
    • Agreed. Sometimes, it seems that the judge in this case or that is a tired old fart without a clue about technology. All the smartass young lawyers come in, talk over the judge's head, and argue asinine bullshit that the judge might only understand if an impartial third party spent months explaining to him. It's about time some judges cut through all the bullshit, and put the lawyers in their place.

      "Stop squabbling, children, I WILL DECIDE what is important, and what is not. Sit down, shut up, and OBEY

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Stop squabbling, children, I WILL DECIDE what is important, and what is not. Sit down, shut up, and OBEY ME!!!"

        Close, but no cigar. You could have RTFA, but let me save you the trouble:

        "The first reduction will follow claim construction. Within SEVEN DAYS after the finalized claim construction order issues, Oracle shall narrow its patent infringement case to 40 asserted claims. Within SEVEN DAYS after that, Google shall narrow its invalidity case to 120 prior art references."

        "The second reduction will follow expert disclosures. By AUGUST 24 (five days after reply expert reports must be served), Oracle shall narrow i

        • Yes, I actually DID RTFA. Perhaps the fact that I was translating from legal speak into something that makes sense to me went right over your head.

          "so the Court selected these figures based on its own views and experience"

          That single line pretty much says, "We're going to do this MY way, little bitches, now shut up, and sit down, pay attention!"

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Agreed. Sometimes, it seems that the judge in this case or that is a tired old fart without a clue about technology. All the smartass young lawyers come in, talk over the judge's head, and argue asinine bullshit that the judge might only understand if an impartial third party spent months explaining to him. It's about time some judges cut through all the bullshit, and put the lawyers in their place.

        "Stop squabbling, children, I WILL DECIDE what is important, and what is not. Sit down, shut up, and OBEY ME!!!"

        It needs to go further then that. A judge needs to be able to rule that a litigant is vexatious and say:

        "This was an utter waste of the courts time again, you are barred from suing for the next 5 (or so) years, now get out of my court."

        • by urulokion (597607)

          It needs to go further then that. A judge needs to be able to rule that a litigant is vexatious and say: "This was an utter waste of the courts time again, you are barred from suing for the next 5 (or so) years, now get out of my court."

          Being declared a vexatious litigator has an extremely hurdle to overcome. And that hurdle being the constitutional right of access to the courts. One frivolous lawsuit would not be nearly enough to be declared vexatious. It would take dozens of such cases.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            It needs to go further then that. A judge needs to be able to rule that a litigant is vexatious and say: "This was an utter waste of the courts time again, you are barred from suing for the next 5 (or so) years, now get out of my court."

            Being declared a vexatious litigator has an extremely hurdle to overcome. And that hurdle being the constitutional right of access to the courts. One frivolous lawsuit would not be nearly enough to be declared vexatious. It would take dozens of such cases.

            Which is exactly what I mean, not just in number of cases but severity. I live in Australia where you can be declared a vexatious litigant and it takes a lot to get to that point, as it should be. Only three people have been declared vexatious litigants by Australia's high courts, two of them for repeated cases against the commonwealth (the state of Australia) claiming they commonwealth did not have the right to issue banknotes. Obviously, a limit on court access should be a very serious matter, even here a

    • by Eggplant62 (120514) on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:07AM (#36045752)

      If only this judge had been in charge of the cases in SCO vs The World, that nonsense would have been done in 2004. It's easy to see that this fellow has a clue here.

      • by DCFusor (1763438)
        We could hope this judge caught that clue by watching SCO antics, maybe even reading Groklaw. Hope, anyway. PJ sure did a job of work to raise awareness to the point where that's a possibility.
    • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Friday May 06, 2011 @08:34AM (#36046258)
      Hold your horses. He's not reducing the number of claims because he thinks the claims themselves are ridiculous. He's reducing the number of claims because the number is ridiculous and not able to be tried reasonably.

      Currently, there are 132 claims from seven patents asserted in this action, and there are hundreds of prior art references in play for invalidity defenses. This is too much. The following schedule will ensure that only a triable number of these items — three claims and eight prior art references — are placed before the jury in October, all others to be forsaken.

      Do you have any idea how long a trial would last with 132 claims and hundreds of prior art references to sort out?

      • by swillden (191260)

        Hold your horses. He's not reducing the number of claims because he thinks the claims themselves are ridiculous. He's reducing the number of claims because the number is ridiculous and not able to be tried reasonably.

        Yeah, on the one hand it's kind of arbitrary and capricious. I mean, if they really have 132 valid claims it seems inappropriate for the court system to refuse to allow them to be asserted. On the other hand trying all of those claims and all of the prior art would just be impractical.

        On the gripping hand, I suspect that the real root of the problem is that most of these patents should never have been issued in the first place, because they are invalid due to prior art, and/or obviousness. But our brok

        • by scragz (654271)

          Everyone says how the patent system is broken so they leave it to the courts to figure out. Now it would be great if the courts are also saying there are too many patents for them to deal with. Progress!

        • by Thing 1 (178996)

          On the gripping hand, [...]

          Oh how I cringe when I see that; the book overused the term. By the third time they used it, that is, and then it was all I could do to not set the book on fire, or some better ending than that.

          • by swillden (191260)
            I quite like it. Not only does it nicely label a third possibility, it also implies that it's a more compelling option than the other two.
        • by AK Marc (707885)
          132 in one case is unreasonable.

          They had 7 patents and on average 19 claims each. If they had filed one case for each 7 patents and 19 claims per case and 7 simultaneous cases, then they wouldn't have been trimmed as they were.

          It's like an Icarus thing. They reached too high and got smacked down for it.
      • by arivanov (12034)

        He will do a summary judgement at 20. So the reduction to 3 is actually only if the trial goes in front of a jury.

        Most patent trials do not. If the summary judgement does not go the way the defendant wants it the defendant usually caves in and licenses at that point instead of being nuked by jury assigned damages.

        In any case, that is only patents. Oracle has launched a salvo of license and copyright missiles as well.

  • by mcvos (645701) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:35AM (#36045448)

    Only 3 Oracle claims left? Only a few days ago I heard about Oracles proposal to reduce the number of claims to 30, and Google's counter proposal to reduce them to 20. 3 seems rather extreme, doesn't it?

    I just hope it helps rather than hurts Google's attempt to invalidate all those patents.

    • by Fri13 (963421) on Friday May 06, 2011 @06:00AM (#36045546)

      Even 1 could be enough for ruling to stop competitive company products being sold.

      If companies would be smart and really being sure that other company is abusing their patent, then they would show just the ones what are needed.
      Now they throw almost everything what they get even close to that case and judges and assistant specialists are bored to death. Companies believe that the amount of abusive accusitions means the judge (or jury) sees how bad the accused is and it can not be a false.
       

      • Even 1 could be enough for ruling to stop competitive company products being sold.

        If companies would be smart and really being sure that other company is abusing their patent, then they would show just the ones what are needed. Now they throw almost everything what they get even close to that case and judges and assistant specialists are bored to death. Companies believe that the amount of abusive [accusations] means the judge (or jury) sees how bad the accused is and it can not be a false.

        What competing smart-phone does Oracle sell? Does Google sell Android? nope... How would Oracle make sure that Google is "abusing" their Java patents? Are not both Java and Davlik both free as in beer? Patents stifle innovation, and harm business, even open source software can't escape the gaping maw of the patent trolls... It's as plain as day to anyone who can whip out "hello world". IMO, the judge shouldn't stop there, continue reducing the triable software patents until the most reasonable number

      • by urulokion (597607)

        Even 1 could be enough for ruling to stop competitive company products being sold.

        Not really. There has been a court case (too lazy to look it up) which has greatly gutted the threat having products recalled, seized, etc. and/or huge amounts of damages if the product has violated a patent. It boils down to how much of the patent the products has violated and how essential the violated invention is to the entirety of the product. If, for example, a smartphone violated 1 claim in a patent on how menus are displayed/formatted that is a very small part of the overall product so the court wou

      • by alvinrod (889928)
        It's legal maneuvering. If you just throw three at them to start with, even if they are actually infringing, their lawyers can make a better defense against those three. It's better to throw some that are more ambiguous in there as well. It might just happen that the opposition spends most of their time building defenses for the ones you didn't care all that much about anyway and be caught of guard for your most solid patents. Most likely this will never actually see a jury verdict as eventually the outcome
    • It's going to get to 3 eventually, but they are going to cut the claims down gradually. I read TFA but I'll shamelessly post this excerpt from AC's above post:

      "The first reduction will follow claim construction. Within SEVEN DAYS after the finalized claim construction order issues, Oracle shall narrow its patent infringement case to 40 asserted claims. Within SEVEN DAYS after that, Google shall narrow its invalidity case to 120 prior art references."

      "The second reduction will follow expert disclosures. By A

  • I can understand getting yelled at to simplify the docket and not overload the judge and jury, but permanently barring claims at a summary stage isn't kosher.

    At most the judge should have booted them off without prejudice.

    And I'm not at ALL cool with the apparent limitation on prior art and defenses.

    • Judges in US courts are the judge of law. It is their job to decide how the law applies to a case and make sure legal standards of evidence are met. So that also means they can dismiss things and prevent them from coming back. This same thing can happen in a criminal case. A judge can determine that the evidence is insufficient to go to trial, and that something has tainted it and thus bar the charge from going forward.

      Judges are supposed to get rid of things before it goes to the jury. The jury is just the

      • by shentino (1139071)

        More like Oracle is accusing google of stabbing it in both shoulders and the judge is forcing it to only pick one shoulder to sue for.

        Now if the judge were to throw out specific claims instead of putting a hard cap on the number and let Oracle choose what to let google get away wtih, that would make better sense.

        If the judge is letting Oracle decide for itself which 3 of those 100 or so claims to proceed with, then it sorta implies that the judge thinks they are all potentially valid.

        • by N1AK (864906)
          What's the alternative? Have the judge hear 132 different cases with say 20 cases of prior art each? Assuming that it takes a week to hear each claim, and a 1/2 for each prior art that would be 1,500 days, factor in holidays and weekends and you're talking about ~2,500 days (7-8 years). Obviously these numbers are pulled out of my ass, but I would be suprised if a case of such scale wouldn't take years. The other options are rush the process giving each claim and the prior art a mere fraction of the time th
        • by Ruke (857276)

          That's okay, though; the judge is letting Oracle decide which shoulder to try to prove that Google stabbed, and the penalty in this case is the same for one shoulder or two. Oracle gets to choose their bloodiest shoulder, and it stand to reason that if they're incapable of proving that it was Google who stabbed them there, they couldn't have successfully argued that Google stabbed them anywhere. (Because, again, Oracle gets to choose their strongest case to work on.)

          Or, something like that. Maybe Google hit

    • It would appear that the judge knows fine that they're just trolling, and has acted accordingly.

    • by anyGould (1295481)

      At most the judge should have booted them off without prejudice.

      It makes sense in this context - if it was without prejudice, then whoever lost would simply grab another handful and start the court case over again.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Claims should be litigatable if they have merit. Arbitrarily telling a plaintiff they have to shit-can X number of claims just because "you filed too much" isn't kosher.

        It's a justiceability issue that has no basis on the actual merits of the claims.

        it's like getting beat up and having to pick which injury you get to sue for.

        I'm all for Google winning, but I want them to win fair and square.

        • by anyGould (1295481)

          Actually, it's exactly what it's like.

          If you get in a fight, you don't get to charge them with assault once for every punch. It's an all-or-nothing deal.

          If Oracle can't win with their three best arguments, then the other 120 weren't very likely either.

          If it makes you feel any better, I'd imagine the losing side will appeal on those grounds either way.

  • A court order making sense? ObL found, nuclear reactors are now officially not 100% safe, the greens party wins an election in germany, the second british prince marries a common woman, canada has a new government, atlas shrugged the movie is out, the middle east struggling for freedom...
    2012 must truly bring the end of the world as we know it.
  • collusion (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustOK (667959) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:56AM (#36045526) Journal

    i call collusion. lawyers on both sides just wanted to get the judge to say "moot" cause it sounds funny. "Moot." hehehe. Try it. "Moot".

    • <judge> [blah blah blah]....moot. What's so funny, counselor?"</judge>

      <butthead> huhuhuhuh you said huhuh "moot". Huhuh huhuhuh</butthead>

      <beavis> Yeah! Yeah! He said "moot" heh hehheh hehhehhehhehheh</beavis>

      <judge> **bangs gavel**</judge>
  • It's a scattergun approach. Honestly, seems pretty poor form from Oracle's legal team but their job is to win, not to play fair.

    The tactic seems to be to file every claim that could conceivably be relevant. Hope a few will stick. As it happens 3 did. That's 200% more than they needed.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:00AM (#36045730)

      It is not that 3 stuck: the judge has not decided which 3 claims stick. He has ordered both sides to reduce their claims and defences from the current huge number in three stages, to be down to 3/8 by the time the case comes to trial. The idea is that Oracle should pick their three strongest claims, and Google their eight best defences against those claims. This means that there is at least a chance that the jury will be able ti understand the case without their brains exploding,

    • I offered to license my patented technique of "Apparatus and method for the preparation of a shit-adhesive wall"; but we couldn't come to an agreement. I bet they are sorry now...
  • by leuk_he (194174) on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:13AM (#36045794) Homepage Journal

    It was announced that groklaw will stop on may 16 [groklaw.net], What site will be the best followup?

    • by urulokion (597607) on Friday May 06, 2011 @11:06AM (#36047800)

      Groklaw isn't going away. All that's happening is that PJ (Pamela Jones) is retiring aka stepping away from Groklaw to pursuit other things. Groklaw has consumed her life for the past 9 years.

      I don't know what Groklaw will morph into w/o PJ at the helm. But PJ (aka the team of IBM laywers ;) ) says the site will be in good hands after she steps down.

  • Donated to the judge's campaign.
    How convenient.

    • by urulokion (597607)

      Donations to a the campaign of an Federal Judge who is appointed for life?

      I don' thin' so.

  • I'm not sure I'm reading this right, but to me it looks like Oracle now get to build back up to 40 claims (based on the 7 patents), after which Google can have up to 120 invalidity cases (prior art), from where Oracle have to halve the number of claims and Google finally have to halve the number of invalidity cases. Then they go to summary judgement.

    This is the bit I'm reading:

    The first reduction will follow claim construction. Within SEVEN DAYS after the finalized claim construction order issues, Oracle shall narrow its patent infringement case to 40 asserted claims. Within SEVEN DAYS after that, Google shall narrow its invalidity case to 120 prior art references. It is anticipated that this first pair of reductions will be completed by the end of May. Within SEVEN DAYS after that, Google shall narrow its invalidity case to 120 prior art references. It is anticipated that this first pair of reductions will be completed by the end of May. The second reduction will follow expert disclosures. By AUGUST 24 (five days after reply expert reports must be served), Oracle shall narrow its patent infringement case to 20 asserted claims. By AUGUST 29 (five days later), Google shall narrow its invalidity case to 60 prior art references. The parties will then have a week of expert discovery remaining, and another week before summary-judgment motions must be filed.

    I'm not sure if this is a major win for either side or not, or whether the judge is just telling them to calm down and come back wit

  • I was shocked for a moment....
  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday May 06, 2011 @08:43AM (#36046324)

    I received 132 emails for little blue pills. All it took was for me to click on one of them!

  • trial is still worth holding, or if the case is now moot.

    Not to be too pedantic but I can't help myself: the question is actually whether the case is no longer moot. Moot means debatable. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moot [reference.com]

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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