Larry Page and Larry Ellison were planning to meet this month to try and put an end to the Android-Java dispute. The Google and Oracle chief executives had a date at the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
Florian Mueller, software patent specialist, wrote in the Foss Patents blog about the meeting, seeing it as a positive move.
“There’s a reasonable chance that Larry Page will show the strong leadership he’s demonstrated since taking over the helm and make Larry Ellison an offer too good to refuse: a ton of money in exchange for a perpetual licence.”
There is the obvious issue of a ‘pay-off,’ in terms of it setting a trend for other patent holders to expect similar treatment. But, as Mueller says, this is ‘not a reason not to do what needs to be done.’
Google are unlikely to come out of this unscathed and so a settlement would be in the Internet giant’s best interest. If the case did go to court, Oracle has got the upper hand, even though Android’s defence is helped by Google’s recent purchase of over 1,000 patents from IBM.
“Oracle probably wouldn’t win a trial on all counts, but it’s highly likely to win on at least some of them, and quite probably the counts on which Oracle would prevail would be powerful enough,” said Mueller.
Oracle had to lower it’s original damages claim (of $2bn to $6bn) after it was discovered that Google had rejected the chance to pay Sun $100m to license the Java platform when it was developing Android.
If the two Larrys cannot come to an agreement the expected court date is 31st October – probably a Halloween to remember.