The much-anticipated trial between tech giants Oracle and Google is currently underway. As previously discussed on this blog, the IP litigation involves claims that Google’s Android mobile operating system violates certain Java-related patents and copyrights now owned by Oracle.
While the parties are currently litigating the copyright aspect of the case, patent issues dominated the legal headlines last week. Oracle originally accused Google of infringing seven patents, but agreed to drop five of the patents after the US Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) invalidated them upon reexamination.
On April 22, 2012, the USPTO reinstated one patent, and Oracle requested that it be allowed into the case against Google. However, Judge William Alsup rejected Oracle’s request on the basis that “Oracle offered to dismiss with prejudice all patents that had been rejected in a final office action subject to reinstatement in the event the PTO reversed itself prior to the start of trial.” The trial started on April 16.
Oracle attempted to argue that the patent trial was not yet underway, but Judge Alsup was not persuaded. He ruled, “Oracle’s argument that the patent ‘trial’ has not yet started is wrong. There was and is one trial with three phases.”
As this case highlights, the outcome of reexamination can have a profound effect on patent litigation and dramatically impact the issues at trial. Stay tuned to this blog in the coming weeks as I provide updates on the closely watched California patent litigation.