Bloomberg Business Week reports that:
Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison and Google Inc. CEO Larry Page were ordered to attend a Sept. 19 settlement conference in the business-software maker’s copyright- and patent-infringement lawsuit against the search engine company.
Oracle, the database software company, sued Google in August, 2010, alleging that Google failed to obtain a license to use Oracle’s Java patents and copyrights that it claims are infringed by Google’s Android operating system.
The Java patents at issue were originally issued to Sun Microsystems. Oracle acquired Sun in January, 2010, in a deal valued at over $7 billion.
In just three years, Google’s Android — open-source software offered to hardware makers for free — has become the leading mobile operating system for smartphones.
Oracle seeks billions of dollars in damages and destruction of all Google products that allegedly violate Oracle’s intellectual property rights.
The suit is just one battle in an ongoing industry war being fought with IP, licensing, acquisitions – and litigation.
In August, Google announced that it would be spending $12.5 billion to buy handset maker Motorola Mobility – along with its rich trove of intellectual property.
In a blog post about the deal, Google CEO Page noted the importance of acquiring the Motorola IP to help fend off competitive threats:
Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.
According to Google, its competitors are:
banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Phone 7; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.
If Oracle and Google are unable to settle, a trial is scheduled to start October 12.