Attorneys Approve Oracle's Patent-Troll Wrangling

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 07-12-2006
Patent attorneys are applauding Oracle's proactive pounce on EpicRealm, a company many consider to be acting like a patent troll.

"Rather than sit back and wait to be sued, or watch as EpicRealm lines its litigation coffers by extracting settlements from smaller companies, Oracle is going on the offensi1ve to protect its business," said Bobbie Wilson, an intellectual property litigation attorney and a partner with the San Francisco law firm Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin, the law firm that defended

Oracle on June 30 filed suit to invalidate EpicRealm's patent claims for the delivery of dynamic Web pages—patent claims that EpicRealm has used as the basis to sue a dozen small companies, including eHarmony, FriendFinder and Safelite Group, in the past year.

When EpicRealm picked on Safelite Group, it caught the attention of Oracle, a much bigger target—one with a bigger wallet and more at stake.

Safelite, an Oracle e-Business Suite customer, looked to Oracle to indemnify it against EpicRealm's claims, as guaranteed in Oracle's licensing agreement. The grounds for doing so were that Oracle's e-Business Suite is used in conjunction with the delivery of dynamic Web pages and thus was subject to EpicRealm's claims of patent infringement.

Safelite settled with EpicRealm in June, with both Oracle and IBM kicking in undisclosed sums toward the settlement.

Now, Oracle is claiming that EpicRealm is poised to come after both it and its customers with patent claims, and the database behemoth is seeking to cut that action off at the knees.

"EpicRealm's patent infringement allegations … cause Oracle to have a reasonable apprehension that 1) EpicRealm will accuse Oracle, Oracle's products and/or Oracle's customers of infringing one or more claims of the EpicRealm patents, and/or 2) additional Oracle customers will sue Oracle for indemnity as a result of EpicRealm's patent infringement claims," Oracle wrote in its complaint against EpicRealm, filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware.

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