Will Google battle get Oracle just $150,000 in damages?

Judge William Alsup warns that the "most" the plaintiff -- Oracle -- might end up with is statutory damages over the nine lines of code.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle's situation in its intellectual property legal battle against Google is looking more bleak by the day.

At one point in time, Oracle was going after Google with the intent to receive up to $6 billion in damages. Slowly that figure has dwindled down to somewhere around $1 billion and then a few hundred million.

Piles of money

Now, it looks like Oracle could end up with just $150,000 -- if anything at all given that the threat of a mistrial looms and we're still in the middle of the second phase of the trial covering patent infringement.

Judge William Alsup warned Oracle at the U.S. District Court of Northern California here this morning that the "most" the plaintiff might end up with is statutory damages over the nine lines of code in the rangeCheck method -- the only item on the verdict form during phase one of the trial in which the jury found Google's conceded use was copyright infringement.

"The fact that they have nine lines out of many millions, you have no damage study tied in," Alsup exclaimed to Oracle.

Although it is up to the jury to determine damages, the maximum limit for statutory damages is $150,000.

Alsup suggested they "might want to find a way to streamline for some dollar amount," hinting they should try to negotiate a settlement in order to avoid a long third phase of the trial dedicated to determining damages.

Nevertheless, all of this is still to be determined as Google has filed a motion for the copyrights phase of the trial to be declared a mistrial. The judge has not ruled on that issue yet.

Even if Google had to fork over $150,000, it could still be a huge win for the Internet giant considering how much Oracle originally wanted.

In regards to the patents part of the lawsuit -- which as Groklaw described as a "roll of the dice for both parties" -- Google put up a better offer in April for up to $2.8 million in damages over two patents in question. Furthermore, Google also offered a deal of 0.5 percent from Android revenue for one patent through December 2012 and 0.015 percent on a second patent through April 2018.

The catch is that this offer was only a stipulation for damages if (and only if) Oracle prevails on patent infringement.

Oracle reportedly rejected it.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Oracle might only receive $150,000 in damages from Google."

 

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