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Oracle sues Google over Java in Android

by Scott Bicheno on 13 August 2010, 09:58

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qazj3

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There's gold in them thar hills

Why didn't we go to corporate law school? That's clearly where all the action is. Legal war has broken out yet again between two technology companies, this time between Oracle and Google.

Until April 2009 the two tech giants would rarely have been spoken about in the same breath, but that all changed when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, and with it the Java programming language. Oracle reckons Google has infringed on Java patents and copyrights in the development of Android.

In a brief press release announcing the filing of a complaint for patent and copyright infringement against Google, Oracle spokesperson Karen Tillman said: "In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement."

That's about it really. The full filing is embedded below, first published by CNET. Given the now unstoppable momentum behind Android, Oracle can't possibly hope to hinder it at this stage. But if this does go to court, and is found in Oracle's favour, Google could be facing a pretty hefty bill. Until then, as ever, the legal gravy train will rumble on.

Meanwhile, Google has issued a defence of its net neutrality proposal, having been extensively accused of selling out in the media. Essentially, the blog post concedes that Google has had to compromise on several issues in order to try to move the discussion along. Here are a couple of representative passages from the post.

"But given political realities, this particular issue has been intractable in Washington for several years now. At this time there are no enforceable protections - at the Federal Communications Commission or anywhere else - against even the worst forms of carrier discrimination against Internet traffic."

"FACT: It's true that Google previously has advocated for certain openness safeguards to be applied in a similar fashion to what would be applied to wireline services. However, in the spirit of compromise, we have agreed to a proposal that allows this market to remain free from regulation for now, while Congress keeps a watchful eye."

 

Oracle's complaint against Google for Java patent infringement



HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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I've not read the claim particularly well, but judging from the patents used they're going after Google for implementing their own VM and development/distribution environment. Still, I'm pretty sure Google can find a few patents that Oracle will be compelled to cross-license, if it must come to that.

Can anyone tell me anything good that's come out of Oracle buying Sun?
Steve
Can anyone tell me anything good that's come out of Oracle buying Sun?

I'm struggling! I agree - this will doubtless get resolved behind closed doors - presumably it's different from when MS had their own VM but actively extended JAVA? Have google simply built a VM without changing the language as such?
A friend of mine was explaining Android programming to be a while back, and while I can't remember all he was saying, I do seem to think that Android isn't quite direct Java.

I could be wrong on this though.
Well it is Java, in so far as a class you write in Java will function in Android, provided all the libraries you need are present on the Android device - and only a subset of the Sun (sorry, Oracle) Java packages are in it, plus some extra ones specific to Android.

The process model is different, because you don't launch programs individually in their own VM - so no “public static void main()”, so you can't just grab a java program source, recompile it and run it on Android, but beyond that - from what I've seen at least, everything else is “normal”.
Technically there is no Java on Android. Android cannot execute .class files. Android's VM takes .class files, then compiles them to .dex, which is Dalvik's own bytecode. Thus, they avoid paying anything for embedding Java.