back to article Oracle loses (again) in battle to get Google Java case retried (again)

Oracle has been turned away in its latest effort to get a new trial for its Java API copyright claim against Google. San Francisco District Court Judge William Alsup denied [PDF] Oracle's latest motion to have the case reheard, this time on grounds of misconduct on the part of Google's lawyers. The legal war, which has been …

  1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    A Comedy of Errors

    Leisure Suit Larry and his minions are looking more like Don Quixote and Sanchez for having a go at the windmill Google.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: A Comedy of Errors

      Not at all. Oracle is confident it will win on appeal. And the appeal won't be in front of Alsup, but three judges who take IP seriously.

      Here we had Alsup marking his own homework (again), so a retrial was never likely.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: A Comedy of Errors

        > Oracle is confident it will win on appeal.

        So are certain writers.

        Doesn't mean this will happen. Even if there are three judges who are less racist against "Intellectual Property" than Judge Alsup.

        Oracle at least can hope for a pot of gold at the end of this legal cud chewing. But why would a blogger cheer them on ... except to be "controversial"?

      2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Oracle is confident it will win on appeal.

        Yeah, so are SCO

      3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: A Comedy of Errors

        US Appeal system goes like this:

        Appeals Court accept the case for review

        3 judge panel reviews and rules on the case; loser can appeal to full appeal court or to the nine seniles

        if accepted, full appeal court reviews and rules, loser can appeal to nine seniles.

        If accepted, nine seniles review and rule

        At any point the appellate court can toss the case back to the original district court for a rehearing/retrial with the original judge presiding.

        Oracle got a rehearing on whether using an API should be considered fair use under copyright and lost again per the Appeals Court.

        If Oracle wins this creates a problem for developers who are using commercial tools that have a traditional copyright. Using the API will require permission and possibly fees to owner. If there is an open source solution available, many abandon the commercial APIs unless the vendor explicitly exempts them. In either case Oracle is likely to lose, establish case law essentially exempting APIs from copyright or forcing developers to consider using other tools to avoid legal complications.

      4. vgrig_us

        Re: A Comedy of Errors

        @ Andrew Orlowski "judges who take IP seriously" - oh, ye, wouldn't you love that, Andrew: i can almost see you drooling. Unfortunately for you, you're talking about CAFC - same appeals court that has been spank by SCOTUS repeatedly on IP issues (with very harsh language in decisions).

        So, you're IP minimalism will have to be fed for a while by whatever stupid IP laws EU passes.

        if someone is interested in just how many time CAFC been overturned lately - go to techdirt and search for "CAFC".

  2. ma1010 Silver badge

    The UK has it better on this point

    If I understand correctly (and I may not), the UK has a better way of handling suits than the US because the UK makes the loser pay the winner's legal bills. I'd like to see something like this used in the US, especially for appeals like this.

    If the sore losers had to PAY both sides for these endless appeals, maybe that would stop these undead-monster-just-won't-die lawsuits like this one, or SCO and many others of its ilk.

    1. Mikel

      Re: The UK has it better on this point

      Every possible way to do it has advantages for somebody, and disadvantages for somebody else.

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: The UK has it better on this point

      You do make a good point, but I'm a bit torn on the SCO one, just because of the endless hours of entertainment it gave.

      The more recent Prenda Law thing was super funny as well. (For me anyway because they didn't try to ruin my life).

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: The UK has it better on this point

      Not quite. Google "UK and Libel Law", you will be surprised what you will find.

      Other Eu countries are much more strict on the "loser pays" front.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: The UK has it better on this point

        Not to mention attorney's fees can be included in a civil suit under US law, so it's still a possibility.

    4. fandom Silver badge

      Re: The UK has it better on this point

      Actually, on the first trial Oracle was ordered to pay Google's legal bills, but with all these appeals and retrials I don't know if that still stands.

    5. boltar Silver badge

      Re: The UK has it better on this point

      "The UK has a better way of handling suits than the US because the UK makes the loser pay the winner's legal bills."

      Thats fine if the battle is between 2 big corps, not so funny if you're the little guy battling a large corp that is using the most expensive lawyers and which then wins on a technicality thanks to said expensive lawyers and you end up having to sell your house to pay their fees as has happened in the UK.

    6. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: The UK has it better on this point

      If I understand correctly (and I may not), the UK has a better way of handling suits than the US because the UK makes the loser pay the winner's legal bills

      Common fallacy - but don't feel too bad. Most UK citizens haven't a clue either.

      In England and Wales (there is no "UK" legal system) the awarding of costs is determined by the "court" and is discretionary. That is there is no "law" or "rule" to follow.

      Generally, there is an accepted *principle* that the loser pays - which is a form of natural justice.

      However, there are numerous cases (the trope being pigheaded neighbour disputes) where the court (i.e.the judge) decides each side should pay their own costs.

      There was a case in the last year or so which dragged on for years with neither side even trying to negotiate. When it was (eventually) settled, the judge did not award costs and each side had to pay their own. The "winner" had to sell the property to pay his lawyers. (I think they then tried to sue their lawyers :) )

      Seems to me the biggest difference in US/UK legal systems is how they view themselves. In the UK it is a given that going to court is an absolute last resort and the parties involved are saying they cannot settle between themselves. Generally, judges take a very dim view of parties that try to use courts as a private playground. As many sue-happy plaintiffs have found - literally - to their cost(s).

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The UK has it better on this point

      Oracle is effectively in a no-win situation.

      Java was a crown jewel for the purchase of Sun. The day Oracle stops suing Google over Java is the day that Oracle will effectively lose rights to the Java trademark.

      Imagine a small software creator, who can create something, open source it, retain a trademark, and then have a huge company come and hijack it. Oracle may be big & hated by many, but as Google demonstrates this is possible, then trademarks will mean nothing.

      This create a very big problem for future programmers in the Open Source community who want to put food on the table for the thing they love to do, for anything other than huge corporations (who may just fire them in the future and outsource their effort to a low-cost labor supplier.)

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: The UK has it better on this point

        trademark != copyright

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: The UK has it better on this point

          But what he described about defending it IS correct for Trademark AND is in the trademark laws as a requirement for keeping it. If you aren't vigilant about enforcing your trademark, someone else can file a claim to have it declared abandoned, removing it from the USPTO files and rendering it open season again.

          1. ST Silver badge

            Re: The UK has it better on this point

            > But what he described about defending it IS correct for Trademark [ ... ]

            The Oracle lawsuit was not about Trademark infringement. It was always about Copyright infringement on Java API's. That's what Oracle wanted it to be. And Oracle keeps losing the Copyright infringement case.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Larry has decided to continue the lawsuits until the end of the next JVM garbage collection cycle. He's got a bit more time yet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      JVM garbage

      Why am I thinking about kitchen smelted rhodium and tainted spinach?

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Some lawsuits are like vampires

    You think they have finally crumbled into dust, and then some idiot spills a drop of blood (or spends some cash in this case), and


  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Meanwhile, other languages beckon...

    Hmmm.... Haskell? Elixir? λProlog? Clojure transpiling to JavaScript? Elm?

    So much to learn!

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Alsup must have inexhaustible patience not to have declared them a vexatious litigant.

  7. PassiveSmoking

    Larry Ellison's tears are like little globules of pure joy to me.

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge


    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: SSDD

      "Persistence: Doing the same thing over and over and actually getting different results."

      And this tends to be praised.

  9. JLV Silver badge

    IP protection is one thing - there is way too faffing around with it specifically in IT, but that doesn't mean that being able to protect _real_ innovation innovation is a bad thing - it's usually just being gamed. Patents in software? Usually less than useful wrt innovation, but I would hesitate to ban them altogether, rather than just the frivolous ones.

    But _this_ case concerns a language supposedly put into open source by Sun. No one forced them to do so, but they then tried to have their cake and eat it - remember the compatibility testing kit BS they spun?

    On top of that, their last legal victory was based on API copyrighting. Which surely should have never been allowed in its 20 year old precedent.

    I really don't care it's big O vs big G. But anything that neuters "copyrighted API" has my upvote. A lot of this crap is being dragged up through Sun's past incompetence which Oracle is unwilling to recognize as such.

  10. swm Bronze badge

    The Good Old Days

    When I started out programming we were never concerned with intellectual property. We were just happy to get things to work and share ideas. That was when the US patent office routinely disallowed software patents.

    Now, every trivial software idea is patented.

    Test: where did unix pipes come from? Not from AT & T.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: The Good Old Days

      It looks the forerunner of pipes was in Dartmouth Time-Sharing System from the 1960's.

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