Oracle Sues Google Over Java Patents

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Oracle is suing Google claiming the Internet search giant is infringing on Java-related patents and copyrights with its Android OS. Oracle bought Sun Microsystems in 2010, bringing Java into its technology stable.

“In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property,” commented Oracle spokesperson, Karen Tillman. “This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement.”

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California, alleged that Google violated Oracle’s copyrights and patents related to Java with the Dalvik Java virtual machine code that’s part of the Android operating system. “The Android operating system software ‘stack’ consists of Java applications running on a Java-based object-oriented application framework, and core libraries running on a ‘Dalvik’ virtual machine that features just-in-time compilation,” the filing says.

The suit goes on to claim “On information and belief, Google has been aware of Sun’s patent portfolio, including the patents at issue, since the middle of this decade, when Google hired certain former Sun Java engineers.”

The lawsuit could turn into a headache for Google since the company is actively working to expand the Android user base in the smartphone market. Some product developers could take a wait-and-see stance, or could slow down product development, while the case plays out to make sure they don’t become targets of Oracle’s legal department, too.

Oracle is looking to block Google from continuing to infringe on its patents and copyrights, and is also asking the court for damages.

Google has not yet commented on the pending litigation.

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4 Comments

ctopher

I don’t know this person from Adam, but the article is interesting and predicted this lawsuit back in 2007!

Dalvik: how Google routed around Sun?s IP-based licensing restrictions on Java ME

webjprgm

Too bad for Google, but maybe this is a way Oracle can get SOME profit off of Sun.

Still, I wonder what exactly is being infringed, considering that there is an open-source version of Java, JVM, etc.  Anyone know?

ctopher

@webjprgm - Read the article I linked to above.

I read the CV of the author above and he (Stefano Mazzocchi) was a past Apache director and has a lot of relevant experience with respect to Java and apache.

Ars has a good article too with a little analysis to boot. It seems that Sun went after Microsoft in much the same way.

Oracle sues Google over use of Java in Android

webjprgm

@ctopher thanks, we posted at about the same time, but then I read the link.  It’s a good article.

I remember when Sun sued Microsoft, because my dad worked for Sun at the time.  From what I remember the issue there was that MS made an incompatible version of Java so that developers would have to code specifically for the MS variant of Java, creating more dependence on MS and ruining the “run anywhere” goal of Java.  So Sun wanted to give them a “slap on the wrist.”

I think Oracle has a good case, but it also is bad faith for the open source community.  My real fear about Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, though, is MySQL.  I think MySQL needs to be divested from Oracle since it has a conflicting interest with it.  Oracle has interest in keeping Java available and on the cutting edge, so I’m less worried about it’s long-term existence, but that being said they could still kill it if they’re stupid.  Fortunately there are many competitors to Java (.NET, Python, Ruby, PHP, Scheme, LISP, pretty much anything), so it would shake up the industry but not stop progress.

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