You might have seen the news all across the blogging world, but in case you haven’t, Oracle’s grand scheme of a billion dollar payday and the death of Android as we know it today didn’t quite work out for them. No, not even a little. The jury found that Google infringed a few copyrights, but also found that Google was not infringing on the asserted patents. In fact, you could say that the entire litigation was a total cluster foxtrot for Oracle. Oracle’s damages now seem limited to something in the $150,000 range, but first the judge has to rule on fair use, which will come next few weeks.
There, you’re up to speed on the events of the week.
Well that’s not really all that happened, because Google General Counsel Kurt Walker had a few things to say to MarketWatch, leading to this opening line:
Google Inc general counsel lauded the courtroom victory won by the Internet giant Wednesday against Oracle Corp. as a warning for firms considering filing patent litigation in the future.
That’s an absolutely idiotic impression for Mr. Walker to leave on a reporter. Why? Because Google hasn’t won anything at all. The can has been kicked down the road, and whether or not Oracle comes back for another bite at Google’s ass, there are plenty of other litigious threats staring Android right in the face.
Look first at Apple. Samsung is feeling the heat from Apple over Android, with the fruit vendor seeking fresh US import bans on the Galaxy Tab. There’s also the import ban that Apple won against HTC last December that led to the One X being stopped at customs. That didn’t directly affect Google, but the dumbing down of Android features on HTC phones certainly is no win for Google.
You know what else happened this week? The newly wholly owned subsidiary Motorola suffered a huge loss against Microsoft in Germany, that’s what. Microsoft had asserted a patent that covers multi-part SMS messages, and the Munich Regional court says that Moto is infringing and that Microsoft is entitled to a German import ban. What’s more, with a $25 million bond, Microsoft can demand an immediate ban of Moto devices in Germany.
Is that winning?
I’m all in favor of patent reform to do away with some of the senseless shit that world governments provide legal protection for, but that’s the world that we live in. The Oracle v Google trial is the very beginning of Google’s legal issues with Android, and to declare any kind of a victory is at best misguided, and at worst downright stupid.
Oracle isn’t done just yet. There are appeals that will be filed, and there is also the possibility that Oracle could file a fresh lawsuit claiming infringement on patents that were excluded from this trial. They could also go back to the patent closet and pull out a few new patents that have yet to be asserted. Either way, victory? Please.
Motorola and Google will also have to deal with Microsoft now, or face one of two very unattractive options. Without a deal to license Microsoft patents, Google (Motorola) will either have to gimp the SMS features of Android or leave the German market. Which of those three options would you pick?
Google may not like it, but cutting a check to Microsoft is an inevitability.
Is that winning Mr Walker?