Google and Oracle are set to go head-to-head in a patent infringement hearing set for March, the trial judge has ruled.
In August 2010 Oracle accused Google of infringing its Java patents. Oracle alleged the search giant failed to honour licensing agreements on its Android mobile operating system. Oracle bought Java in 2010 through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in August 2010.
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District Judge William Alsup said the case will go to a jury trial after March 19. The trial was originally slated for October 2011.
Adam Rose, partner at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, said there is little doubt Google is using Java for Android and here is no formal licensing agreement in place. He said the dispute will be around whether permission was granted.
“From a legal perspective it’s a clear lesson that people should have proper licences in place,” Rose said. “Oracle needs to get money from the exploitation of its intellectual property, which as a general principle it is entitled to make money from. But Google will claim that Sun Microsystems knew what was going on because they must have sent in technology developers to provide consultancy. From a lawyer's perspective, this comes down to what amounts to a licence.”
He said: “I suspect this will end in an out-of-court settlement to avoid the costs of litigation, with Google making a commercial decision to make a payment. In this case we may never know how much this will be.”
The news comes as Google bolsters its intellectual property estate. Google recently gained hundreds of patents from IBM. In August Google announced its £7.65m acquisition of Motorola Mobility, adding 24,500 new patents which could be used to protect Android against future disputes.