May 6th, 2011

Google’s lawyers just got a hell of a break up against Oracle’s. The Honorable Judge William Alsup has determined that Oracle just has too many damned patent infringement claims in this case and has ordered them to cut back. How much fat did they burn? Out of an initial 132 claims, the judge has informed them that only three would be tried. The rest are to be tucked away in Oracle’s filing cabinets never to be heard from or seen again.

It’s a big blow to Oracle in their attempts to get Google to pay up for “stealing” bits of code that they have obtained (through acquisition) from Sun Microsystems. Everyone has long said that patent reform is long overdue and this Judge’s actions shows he believes just as much. At least for software, something needs to be done about companies suing each other because they weren’t the first to innovate with what they’ve claimed is theirs.

While this doesn’t mean Google will have an easy time fighting off Oracle, it does mean Android isn’t in as much trouble as was once believed. And did you think Google would let the hottest thing in mobile die because one company – who had nothing to do with Java’s inception – had a few folders saying they owned the rights to this and that? It’s no surprise that the main folks behind Java’s existence left the company shortly after the acquisition was approved.

Sun had every chance to sue Google while they were still their own entity, but they didn’t. We don’t know why they didn’t, but a piece of us likes to think that Sun recognized the value in open source software and were actually quite pleased with what Google had done with Android. Oracle’s trying to pick a fight with the biggest kid in the lunch room and we all know how that tends to turn out. I have a feeling this case won’t go on for much longer – Oracle’s morale has to be quite low following these events. [via Groklaw, Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]