Oracle's legal attack on Google's Android smartphone operating system has hit a brick wall with the US Patent and Trademark Office declaring a raft of patents invalid on the basis of 'prior art'.
Having acquired Sun three years ago, Oracle has been using the firm's wealth of Java-related patents to go after Google with the firm demanding $2.6 billion in damages. However the USPTO declared that 24 claims relating to one patent are provisionally invalid.
The decision means that five of the seven patents Oracle alleges Android infringes upon have been either partially or fully invalidated, according to a H Online report. The USPTO move is not, however, final and Oracle has the option of appealing.
Google recently lost out in a bidding war for bankrupt technology giant Nortel's massive patent portfolio, something which analysts expected would be highly attractive to Google as it seeks to defend the Android operating system from the continuing tit-for-tat patent litigation that has become the hallmark of the smartphone industry.
A consortium of rival smartphone vendors including Apple, RIM and Microsoft were successful in snapping up the Nortel patent pool for $4.5 billion dollars. As such Android looks set to face even greater legal threats in the future.
The USPTO decision may also mean the judge postpones the upcoming October trial while Oracle's patents are reexamined.