Oracle, Google, Motorola and patents

According the jury, Google did not infringe on two Oracle patents. That news came the same day, May 22, that Google closed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

The acquisition sailed through smoothly, and Google was quick to try to assure other Android handset makers – who are now both partners and competitors – that they would not become second-class citizens.

“The acquisition will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business,” said the company in a statement.

You can’t blame the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung from being nervous. Google already sells its own phones, such as the Galaxy Nexus, which are often the first with leading-edge technology. If Motorola phones now get early access to Android technologies, Google will look a lot more like Apple, and the viability of the broader marketplace would suffer.

And don’t even get started about what Google’s ownership of Motorola’s patents might mean to innovation in the handset market.

Speaking of patents, well, according to a jury, the answer was clear in Oracle America Inc., Plaintiff, v. Google Inc., Defendant.

The jury said that no, Google did not infringe on two patents acquired by Oracle when it purchased Sun Microsystems in 2009.

Patent RE38104, called “Method and apparatus for resolving data references in generated code,” was invented by James Gosling in 2003. It covers the way that Java source code is turned into Java byte code, and then run by a Java virtual machine.

Patent US6061520, “Method and system for performing static initialization,” was invented by Frank Yellin and Richard Tuck. This patent covers efficient means for a virtual machine to statically initializing an array .

Bottom line: Oracle is not going get billions of dollars in damages from Google. Don’t cry for Oracle, though – it is hugely profitable and has plenty of cash. This would have been a windfall for its investors, nothing more.

What will Google do with the savings? Invest in mobile phone technology, which it can market first in Motorola-branded handsets? That’s what its competitors probably fear.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick
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