Oracle v Google

Oracle has filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming that the Android operating system infringes on its own software patents.  Oracle spokeswoman Karen Tillman says in an official statement, "In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement."  Google has issued no statement, saying that they had not yet been served.

And I say, in a very unofficial statement, "A large portion of Java is covered under the GPLv2, and it's very likely that the Dalvik virtual machine was built from the ground up using none of Sun's existing technology."  This will probably turn out to be just another drawn-out court battle, with no clear winner, and lots of money being spent on both sides.  We will just have to wait to see what a judge or other elected official has to say on the matter.  Google must be doing something right with Android -- it certainly has become a popular target.  I'm certainly not a lawyer, and never even played one on TV, but for those who are, the complaint is after the break.  [AP via MSNBC]

Oracle Google Complaint


Reader comments

Oracle taking Google to court over Java patents


"A large portion of Java is covered under the GPLv2, and it's very likely that the Dalvik virtual machine was built from the ground up using none of Sun's existing technology."

Interesting. If Dalvik is based on GPL'd code, that could be a powerful defense.

Has Google released the source for Dalvik? IANAL, but wouldn't that be a requirement to use GPL'd code (and hence use the GPL as a defense)?

This comment is reposted from another blog for insane amounts of truth:

"I saw this coming when Oracle bought Java. The only reason Oracle bought Java was to erect these nuisance lawsuits. No one was infringing on Sun - they produced Java as a free, open framework, and promoted it as 'free'. Oracle is trying to close it, retroactively. I do not think even the clueless US Patent officials will allow that. It would be like someone buying the rights to Linux from Linus Torvald, and then suing everyone who had ever written a linux app. Wont work, and they know it. They are just hoping that Google will settle out of court. This is what happens when your software technology becomes old and obsolete, like Oracle, and you no longer have the talent in house to produce more. You become a flea-bag bunch of lawyers pretending to be a technology company."

Although I have nothing to do with this suit or the legal department as a whole, but as someone who works for the eviler empire, I'd like to offer my apologies.

It's a shame. Every time a company comes out with something great that everybody wants then come all the grab ass's wanting to stick there hands in the pocket.

The more I read the more I see that this just isn't going to work out for Oracle and they have actually killed their own company.

To sum it up Oracle/Sun apparently charge a fee for licensing Java for mobile use. So they are claiming that Google is using Java for free (the claim Android uses Java in the filing). The only problem is that Google isn't using Java in terms of the JVM or class libraries at all. We all know they use their own VM, Dalvik, and most probably don't know that they use the Apache Harmony class libraries instead of those in the JDK. What Google does use is the Java syntax just like Microsoft uses the Java syntax in C#. What Oracle in effect is claiming is that you can't make your own implementation of the Java language. With Java being GPLv2 code I don't think they can make that claim unless the syntax is covered under something else. It would have to come down to literally the mobile implementation since its supposed to be free to do so otherwise. But what constitutes mobile? A laptop? And Android is Linux so whats any different about it than any other Linux distro with a different implementation like say IcedTea? And to take it a step further the filing almost makes it look like you can't implement ANY VM without stepping on their patents so this would basically end all other VM based languages.

It would seem Google has a very easy way out of this. Stop calling the language syntax Java or even switch the syntax to something like Groovy or Scala. Oracle however has just possibly pissed off the open source community that makes Java what it is. If you attack the idea of Apache Harmony is the Apache Foundation going to want to continue Tomcat which forms the basis for even commercial Java application servers? What about other projects like Apache Commons, Jetty, Eclipse, Hibernate, JBoss, JUnit, TestNG...oh wait...the creator of TestNG works for Google and had this to say lol.

But the point is that Java can't survive without all of the open source projects that make it go. It was already walking a tight rope with many arguments being made about just how open it is. Well the backlash is already getting underway.

Expect to see more. If people start feeling like the whole idea of a VM is under attack then just about every open language community out there will be pissed off at this. Does Oracle really want the Java, Python, Ruby, Groovy, Scala, Clojure, etc. etc. guys flocking to something like Parrot and coding around those 7 patents? It would not be pretty for Oracle at all.

Your analysis, while well reasoned, is predicated on the assumption that Oracle lawyers are total idiots, who have never successfully litigated anything.

You might want to re-evaluate this.

Just FYI, federal judges are not elected, they are appointed for life. Patent cases are heard in federal courts, and this suit has been filed in a federal court.

So it is incorrect to say "We will just have to wait to see what a judge or other elected official has to say on the matter."

"We will just have to wait and see what some political appointee who sucked up or donated heavily to some elected official has to say on the matter." -- better?

Didn't Google CEO Schmidt lead the Java developement when he was at Sun? The prospect of the Google CEO being deposed as a witness for Oracle seems pretty interesting.

There's a good discussion of the issues around this case over on Slashdot.

Again, IANAL and IANAP, but my read of the discussion on Slashdot is that GPL or source code isn't a factor.

Sun is claiming that certain aspects of Dalvik infringe on software patents held by Oracle as a result of their acquisition of Sun. So the case will probably hinge on two questions: 1) does Dalvik infringe on one or more of these patents and 2) are the patents valid.

Also, Oracle is claiming that Google's use of Java violates Oracle's copyrights that cover Java. So it's about patents and copyrights, and not GPL. Also, keep in mind that not ALL of Java is open source.

That said, I agree with what Jerry said in the article, this case will likely drag on for years and make a lot of lawyers rich, and in the end nothing major will come of it. Either Oracle will lose or Google will pay some pittance fee to Oracle to "license" the use of their patented technology.

Can't wait to see if Metallica lawyers @ Q-Prime send out some letters about this. But for me, it was a thrill to see Doris (Lady Justice).

Anyone else notice how all these big companies going after very questionable lawsuits seem to like to do so in the "Northern District of California" which has been known, historically, to side with the older, more entrenched companies. Particularly when it comes to copyright infringement cases. SCEA is currently sueing the guy who "jail broke" the PS3 in the "Northern District of California".

I point it out only because Android phones are sold *literally* all over the world, but the legal paperwork explicitly cites "On information and belief, Google has purposefully, actively, and voluntarily distributed Android and related applications, devices, platforms, and services with the expectation that they will be purchased, used, or licensed by consumers in the Northern District of California. Android has been and continues to be purchased, used, and licensed by consumers in the Northern District of California. Google has thus committed acts of patent infringement within the State of California and, particularly, within the Northern District of California."

Why are Oracle's lawyers going out of their way to make this an issue about Northern Cali, unless they believe there's some additional leverage they can use specific to that region? Just something interesting, I thought.