Oracle disputes patent office ruling

Oracle asked the patent office to reconsider its preliminary rejection of a patent relevant to its legal battle with Google

Oracle this week filed what is likely the first of several requests that the patent office reconsider its initial rejection of a patent relevant to Oracle's legal dispute with Google.

In June, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in a preliminary reexamination rejected all or some claims in four of seven patents that Oracle alleges Google infringes in Android.

Google asked the agency to reconsider the patents after Oracle sued it for infringing them in Android. Oracle claims, in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, that Google infringes Java patents in the Dalvik virtual machine that runs Java applications in Android. Java was developed by Sun Microsystems, a company Oracle purchased last year.

In hundreds of pages of documentation, Oracle now requests that the patent office reconsider its preliminary rejection of patent number 7,426,720. The patent covers technology related to a runtime environment and, according to Oracle's expert witness, provides a new approach to virtual machine memory management.

Oracle includes a statement from Benjamin Goldberg, a computer science professor at New York University, who argues that some of the prior art that the patent office cites during its preliminary reexamination isn't the same as the technology in the '720 patent.

Oracle also offered the patent office a side-by-side comparison of its patented technology next to Android, in what it calls a "copy chart."

Of all the patents Oracle has asserted against Google, this one could be the most strategically important, Florian Mueller, a patent expert who has been following the case, wrote in a blog post. That's because it is the most recently awarded patent at issue and is valid until 2025. The other patents expire in or before 2018, Mueller said.

If the court agrees that the '720 patent is important and that Google has infringed it, the term of the patent's validity will impact the amount of damages awarded to Oracle, Mueller noted.

In its letter, Oracle also says that the technology behind patent '720 was created because customers asked for it.

"As asserted in Patent Owner's patent infringement complaint, Google copied Patent Owner's claimed invention, presumably in order to come up with its competing Android software without having to invest the substantial time and resources that Patent Owner did in the claimed invention," Oracle wrote.

The dispute between Oracle and Google could take years to conclude, if both companies continue to pursue appeals and challenges with the patent office. The companies are scheduled to appear for a hearing on July 21 during which Google will argue that the court should throw out a damages estimate calculated by an Oracle expert witness.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesOracleGoogleAndroidlegalconsumer electronicsintellectual propertypatent

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?