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Oracle-Google Trial Won't Start Until Next Year 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the wheels-of-justice-turn-slowly dept.
angry tapir writes "The intellectual property lawsuit between Oracle and Google over the Android mobile OS won't go to trial until next year, according to a ruling made in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by the judge overseeing the case. The trial was initially set to begin Oct. 31 but was postponed last week by Judge William Alsup due to scheduling conflicts with a major criminal trial. The trial will be split into three stages heard by the same jury. In step one, 'liability on the copyright claims, including all defenses thereto, will be tried and determined by special verdict before going to Phase Two,' he wrote. The second phase will cover liability on the case's patent claims, he added. 'The jury will decide these issues before going to Phase Three.' In the final stage, 'all remaining issues will be tried, including damages and willfulness.'"
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Oracle-Google Trial Won't Start Until Next Year

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  • "In the final stage, 'all remaining issues will be tried, including damages and willfulness.'"

    Wouldn't using the word 'wilfulness' suggest he already thinks Google did something wrong?
    You or I may or may not think that, but a judge should try to remain neutral. Maybe a 'if needed be' or some such context was cut out of the quote.
    • No, just like with murder charges wilfulness is important.

      When you put someone on trial for first degree murder you're saying "we think they commited murder, but specifically we think they did it entirely wilfully and planned ahead" (give or take)

      They're saying that in the event that the basic charges are found to be true, they'll assess whether it was a simple fuckup on Google's part or whether they knew what they were doing and did it anyways.

      not a lawyer, all that jazz.

      • by ArhcAngel (247594)

        No, just like with murder charges wilfulness is important.

        When you put someone on trial for first degree murder you're saying "we think they commited murder, but specifically we think they did it entirely wilfully and planned ahead" (give or take)

        They're saying that in the event that the basic charges are found to be true, they'll assess whether it was a simple fuckup on Google's part or whether they knew what they were doing and did it anyways.

        not a lawyer, all that jazz.

        Which has always struck me as odd. How can we (United States) claim that our justice system is blind when we turn around and categorize levels of a crime based on intent (willfulness)? I'm not saying I disagree with the practice just that our system isn't nearly as blind as it is portrayed.

        • You do it all the time - manslaughter, third degree murder, second degree murder, first degree murder etc.

        • Well frankly if we're talking about innocence until proven guilty, the far bigger issue is that we put people in jail before they've even been put on trial.

          But I don't disagree with you, a proper legal system would establish that the act was committed by the person in question, put them in jail if appropriate (up to the minimum sentence period) and use that time to figure out the specifics that effect the sentence.

          However I have no idea how one goes about building such a system without *massive* resources a

        • Perhaps you've misunderstood what "blind justice" means. It basically means that all those before the courts are treated equally, regardless of race, religion, gender, etc. Wilfulness is just a part of the element of the intent of the offender. Justice remains blind as long as, when charged with murder, each accused is assessed in the same way. If wilfulness is an element of the offence of murder, then each accused has the right to make the State prove wilfulness, and "blind justice" is preserved. Of course

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Perhaps you've misunderstood what "blind justice" means. It basically means that all those before the courts are treated equally, regardless of race, religion, gender, etc. Wilfulness is just a part of the element of the intent of the offender. Justice remains blind as long as, when charged with murder, each accused is assessed in the same way. If wilfulness is an element of the offence of murder, then each accused has the right to make the State prove wilfulness, and "blind justice" is preserved. Of course, in practice it doesn't always work that way.

            Not quite...

            You could treat everyone equally poorly and still maintain equality.

            The blind justice refers not to equality but to neutrality...

            While the defense attorney is on the defendant's side and the prosecutor is against him, the court is neither for nor against.

            Well frankly if we're talking about innocence until proven guilty, the far bigger issue is that we put people in jail before they've even been put on trial.

            As to the statement "Well frankly if we're talking about innocence until proven guilty, the far bigger issue is that we put people in jail before they've even been put on trial."

            This does not have anything to do with jail or willfulness or any o

            • You couldn't be more wrong, actually.

              You honestly don't think that someone who is arrested and sent to jail (to await trial) has a stigma attached to them when they get out 12 months later, as is the case in some murder trials.

              You don't think it changes the conditions at work assuming they still have/can get a job after?

              You're arguing the strictly *current* legal interpretation of "innocent until proven guilty". I'll put it as politely as possible by saying that is incredibly naive. The only way you can leg

        • Crime is an element of action and will as defined by our and most legal systems. The action and willfulness determine the crime, the action alone is not enough to convict a person. This is why motive and what not must be established during a trail where the crime accused is one of passion or intent.

          If I violate someone's patent and didn't know it was patented. They can haul me off to court, however, if they cannot establish that they have tried to make contact with me to inform me of their patent, it's
    • No, the jury get to decide if the infringements were wilfull or not - that sentence doesn't read any other way.

    • There won't be a third phase at all if Google is not found in violation. There's always a penalty phase planned, just in case it's needed the schedule has to account for it. It's always easier to fill unexpected free space in a schedule than to try to carve out space for something unexpected.

    • by WorBlux (1751716)

      "Wouldn't using the word 'wilfulness' suggest he already thinks Google did something wrong?"

      If the trial gets to stage 3 it means the jury found some liability in stage 1 or 2. If they didn't you could just skip stage three and go home.

  • Without patents this would be so much simpler.

    JUDGE: Did your client write this software?
    LAWYER 1: No, your honour.
    JUDGE: Did _your_ client write this software?
    LAWYER 2: Yes, your honour.
    JUDGE: Alright, then it's theirs and they can do what they want with it. Case closed. *bangs gavel*

    Does anyone really think that would be any less fair than the current system?

    • Does anyone really think that would be any less fair than the current system?

      The answer to that is obviously and unfortunately "Yes!".

    • No it wouldn't. Both lawyers would respond 'yes'. Part of Oracle's claim is that Google took some classes from Oracle's GPL'd Java implementation, stripped off the GPL and comments, added an APSL, tweaked a few variable names, and called it original code. The examples that I've seen are pretty ambiguous - there aren't many different ways of implementing some parts of Java, and even two completely independent implementations working from the same spec would be pretty similar and determining if one was a d
      • by Tharsman (1364603)

        even two completely independent implementations working from the same spec would be pretty similar and determining if one was a derived work would still be difficult.

        I have a hard time buying that. Without actually looking at the original version, its insanely hard to achieve code that looks even similar twice. Indentation and comments alone will change every time and for every coder and unless a spec litterally tell you "write this line of code and then this other line of code" then it's very likely even order, variables and behind the scenes data structures would be very different.

        One thing I got very used to in my college years was to see similar claims from my class

        • by Tharsman (1364603)

          **i highly doubt he didnt**

        • So I highly doubt at least some lazy engenier at Google did copy code and played a bit with spacing and variable names.

          This is what a header file looks like:
          // Sort array "array[]" and put result in "sortedArray[]", each of size "size"
          void ArraySort(int array[], int sortedArray[], int size);

          // Sort array "array[]" of size "size" in place
          void ArraySortInPlace(int array[], int size);

          // Sort linked list in place whose first element is "head"
          void ListSortInPlace(ListElement* head);

          (etc.)

          I defy anyone to rewrite such a thing so that you implement each of the original functions in a way that they can be used as a replacement lib

    • by nharmon (97591)

      If only it were that simple... it is often more like:

      LAWYER 1: We wrote a significant portion of the software, your honor. Half of our product was licensed to XYZ Corp. with a specific non-compete clause. A quarter of it was licensed to ZZ Corp. without a non-compete clause. Since ZZ Corp was later acquired by XYZ Corp., we do not feel the license we granted to ZZ Corp. overrides the conditions under the license we granted XYZ. And even if it does, it does not cover all of the software we licensed to XYZ.

      JU

      • You're ignoring the original point, which is that software patents create a whole new degree of wasteful litigation on top of what you already get with copyright and contracts.

        On top of that, judges are pretty good at interpreting contracts. They do it all the time and it doesn't really require them to be software developers. Whereas trying to determine whether a software patent is "obvious to someone having ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention" or whether a linked list and an array are "e

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      My understanding is Oracle's point is precisely about Google copying code Sun wrote, not over patents (although they may be used to strengthen their stance.)

      So that conversation woudl have both lawyers saying "yes" followed by the whole same trial we seen this far.

    • LAWYER 2: Yes, your honor. My client took a copy of the plaintiff's code, and simply typed it all out again. Technically, my client did really write it.

      Sometimes simple isn't enough.

  • SCO (Score:5, Informative)

    by bmo (77928) on Thursday October 27, 2011 @08:40AM (#37854298)

    It took the SCO case 7 years to resolve and they had nothing on their side.

    Google isn't going down without a fight. We'll still be reading about this in 2025.

    --
    BMO

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Compaqt (1758360)

      I doubt that. The judge prevented Google from redacting the "smoking gun" email where the founder of Android (which Google bought) is quoted saying, that, yes, in fact, Android does infringe on Java, and no amount of obfuscation via tech named after frosty European fishing villages (Dalvik) will get around that.

      Don't have the link handy, but you could check my posting history.

      Not that the judge is an Oracle fanboi, either. He wants neither $0 damages nor $1 billion. About $100 mil.

      • I'm not familiar with this case, but unless the "smoking gun" specifically said that they stole the code from Oracle, it probably won't be given much weight in court. Judges are very protective of their turf, and don't think much of legal opinions coming from laypeople, or really even from lawyers. As far as a judge is concerned, it ain't patent infringement unless a judge says it's patent infringement.

        Also, I rather suspect that if the e-mail were really that damning, Google would have settled the suit by

      • by JAlexoi (1085785)

        I doubt that. The judge prevented Google from redacting the "smoking gun" email where the founder of Android (which Google bought) is quoted saying, that, yes, in fact, Android does infringe on Java, and no amount of obfuscation via tech named after frosty European fishing villages (Dalvik) will get around that.

        .

        Nope. The letter implies that they knew that they needed to negotiate a license.

      • Pardon my technical ignorance, but why would Google with the all the unlimited resources in the world opt to rip-off Linux and Java? Some non-techie judge like me could have a similar view, in my book it is the same as if Harley-Davidson bikes equipped unlicensed motors from Kawasaki in their motorbikes, weird, non-sensical and wrong at the same time.
        • why would Google with the all the unlimited resources in the world opt to rip-off Linux and Java?

          Just like asking why the rich people would rip off the poor...

          I mean, Google isn't as evil as the rich bastards over there at Wall Street, but the question itself isn't really so non-sensical as you'd think.

          Besides, writing a mature software platform is *hard* (multibilliondollar-hard). The two major platforms for smartphones are from Apple and Microsoft, and both companies had decades of experience, code and developer base from the desktop OS platforms to build upon. Google had none of that, and so they ch

        • by Compaqt (1758360)

          Well, for one thing, Android was a separate company before Google bought it, and continued its decisions.

          Sun kinda sorta hinted that Google should license stuff (Java) from Sun, but Google didn't, since Sun was a bunch of pushovers.

      • The judge prevented Google from redacting the "smoking gun" email where the founder of Android (which Google bought) is quoted saying, that, yes, in fact, Android does infringe on Java....

        It says nothing of the sort. It says that all the alternatives to Java that they considered sucked, and it would be better to license Java than to consider the alternatives.

        That statement says absolutely nothing about the quality of what constitutes a Java license, and can be interpreted in a number of ways. Since at least one of those possible interpretations is damaging to Google (while most are benign), it made sense to try eliminating it from evidence. It makes sense to eliminate as much as possible

        • by Compaqt (1758360)

          Well people can make their own determinations:

          One [allthingsd.com]

          Two [allthingsd.com]

          Three [thomsonreuters.com]

          Four [paidcontent.org]

          "What we've actually been asked to do by Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] is to investigate what technical alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome. We've been over a bunch of these and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need."

  • The trial was initially set to begin Oct. 31 but was postponed last week by Judge William Alsup due to scheduling conflicts with a major criminal trial.

    I have read about this postponement on many fora elsewhere. My question though is why nobody will tell us which parties are involved in this 'major' criminal trial. Aren't trials and their associated parties supposed to be known to the public?

  • How is google being sued for using free software?

    • by Raenex (947668)

      How is google being sued for using free software?

      They're not using the GPL'd software, so any patent grants they would have gotten from that doesn't apply.

    • Free doesn't mean its not licensed.

  • Is anyone else getting tired of these lawsuits between tech companies? It seems like every day on slashdot there's a 'google v. apple trial', 'google v. java trial', 'microsoft v. apple trial', ' trial'. It's getting ridiculous.
    • Oh yes, they're becoming so commonplace it's ridiculous. The only people who like these are the lawyers, it's keeping them employed, but it means everyone else is suffering, like the buyers and the shareholders. Money that could have been spent on R&D or expansion is now going to legal costs, on top of that many of these tech companies are hoarding their ridiculous IP ideas hostage so that if someone else wants to create a new product they have to pay licensing fees in order to do it legally. And I'm su
      • If developers are not careful software development will turn out like Medicine. Lawyers will take a great profession that makes decent money and siphon off all the money and joy. We will wind up purchasing patent infringement insurance from banks. There will be two lawyers per every developer. One lawyer for researching patents that make the code illegal. Another for creating patents on every little thing in the code. This will occur till all the jobs are chased out of the country.
  • Damn, I already feel sorry for that jury. You have to come back in three separate chunks, any of which may last a week, and to top it all off listen to some inane technical and legal mumbo jumbo (either of which is bad enough on it's own). In fact I'm sure there are some liberals who would classify it as torture, and I'm not prone to disagree.

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