Google, Oracle Patent Talks Make Slow Progress
By Brian Womack and Aaron Ricadela – Sep 21, 2011 12:01 AM ET
Google Inc. and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) chief executive officers made little headway this week in negotiations aimed at resolving a lawsuit accusing the Web-search company of patent infringement, a person briefed on the talks said.
The two sides, scheduled to meet again today in federal court in San Jose, California, remained at loggerheads after the daylong session and were unlikely to reach a settlement soon, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
Oracle, the largest maker of database software, sued last year, saying Google didn’t obtain a license to use Java technology patents that it says are infringed by the Android mobile-device operating system. Besides seeking billions of dollars in damages, Oracle wants the court to order destruction of all products that violate its copyrights.
Google’s Larry Page and Oracle’s Larry Ellison appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal during talks that lasted more than 10 hours.
Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Redwood City, California-based Oracle, and Katelin Todhunter-Gerberg, a spokeswoman for Mountain View, California-based Google, declined to comment.
Oracle’s suit may represent a bigger menace to Google’s software than challenges from Apple Inc. (AAPL), which has already won patent decisions against Android device makers. In settlement talks, Page aims to avoid having to pay Oracle licensing fees that analysts at Citigroup Inc. said could be as high as $15 per device. That sum might slow the adoption of the software.
Oracle claimed in court papers that Google could owe as much as $6 billion, while Google suggested at a hearing that a reasonable royalty would be $100 million.
The case is scheduled to go to trial in October.