The US Patent Office has rejected 17 out of 21 patent claims from Oracle as a result of the reexamination of U.S. patent 6192476. Recently Oracle released information indicating it had asked the court for SIX BILLION DOLLARS. While the claims of Oracle are astronomically absurd their claims are being eliminated as the Patent Office continues to reexamine the patents in question. While it is good news that the bid by Oracle to destroy the popular linux based Android operating system is failing it reinforces the dangers of software patents. Being open source there is no copyright infringement in question, The assertions being made by Oracle are only around abstract ideas, not concrete implementations. The work by Google extends these abstract ideas and implements them in a concrete way. The patent action by Oracle encapsulates everything that is wrong with the patent system.
The Oracle action has raised fears in the open source community that other projects without the backing of a large corporation may be next in the firing line. Oracles aquisition of Sun has resulted in loss of support for virtually all the open source projects supported by Sun, including OpenOffice.org, Java and Open Solaris. MySQL, the only other significant open source software project supported by Oracle has seen massive increases in support fees and the loss of core developers.