Google Sued for Patent Infringement by Oracle

It’s good to be at the top of the mountain… until a team of lawyers start beating your doors down week after week. This time, Google’s being sued by Oracle – the database guys – over patent infringements they found deep within the Android OS. The infringement pertains to code written in Java – the same Java owned and licensed by Oracle-acquired Sun Microsystems and the same Java that helps power Dalvik and Android as a whole.

Java

The 7 patents Oracle’s claiming on behalf of their subsidiary are quoted below, if you want to dig deep for more information. We’re sure Google can overcome this hurdle just as they seem to do every legal hurdle. We don’t know how they plan to attack this one just yet, however, as Google has yet to receive their official notice. Everyone’s just going to settle out of court anyway (You know, because Google has all that money and junk.)

[via CNet, Thanks to everyone who sent this in.]

Oracle’s complaint against Google for Java patent infringement

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  • Phil

    People are starting to point to the friendship between Ellison and Jobs and that could be it but I also believe Oracle has made a GIGANTIC miscalculation about what they were doing to do with Sun in their hands. Java is GPLv2 code from what I can see…or at least the JVM is if theres a distinction. So how you get away with suing a company over patent infringement for using GPLed code in accordance with the license is beyond me. Java is free to use and redistribute so making a derivative work like Dalvik shouldn’t be a problem.
    -
    What Oracle may have just done though is erase any doubts in the open source community about how they view FOSS and what they plan to do with Java. Thats going to kill Java as we know it since you can’t even use Java for anything worthwhile without using one of the major open source Java projects. Are those projects going to want to keep supporting a company thats patent trolling? And I suspect they went after Google not only because of the success but because Dalvik I’m sure is in the back of everyones mind in the Java community if Oracle pulls the rug from under them. Its like a preemptive strike to make sure theres no where to retreat when they lock down and try to monetize every thing they can around their Sun purchase. They will quickly find themselves on an island scratching their head as to why the Java community disappeared overnight. Hell with this filing being so cloudy it may be infringement just to develop and redistribute apps along with a JVM.

  • http://www.ohmz.net Omar

    Headline is wrong it’s patent infringement not copyright.

  • http://www.ohmz.net Omar

    @phil java may be open source but I don’t think the JVM is. I could be wrong.

  • Simon

    @Omar : Count 8 is copyright infringement, if you read the complaint. I don’t think this one will hold up…

  • Wagster

    Oracle are being represented by Morrison Foester, my favourite patent attorney firm. Their website is MoFo.com!!

  • whatever

    This is a huge, huge, mess. Basically, what Google did was right a replacement for JVM, that is Dalvik. Part of their goal was probably to avoid licensing fees, but they were probably MORE concerned about getting around licensing restrictions that Sun would have imposed on the technical implementation of Android. It’s unlikely that the copyright infringement suit will go anywhere, but it’s very likely that Google IS liable for patent infringement. The worst part of this is, that Oracle is probably sueing because they want to enforce strict adherence to their JVM licensing terms, which means that Google may end up having to re-implement large portions of Android.

    If there is anything at all good that will come of this, it will be that perhaps a few more people will realize how desperately the United States needs patent reform.

  • Ben

    Android is finished I feel. I don’t think Oracle will agree to any licensing or any cash compensation for a non-standard JVM like Dalvik.

  • smooter

    Larry, Larry, Larry….Dude, you are rich, let other folks be rich as well! :-)

    Patent guru I am not, and Java mondo intel I do not have, but I gotta believe that if there was a possibility ANYWHERE during the development of Dalvik that it could be considered a Patent/Copyright infringement issue, Google would have figured out a way to shield themselves from it.

    This is one of those “eggs in one basket” situations, and while Google is still a fairly new Tech company, the $$ they command and the experience they have on staff from a tech industry standpoint it would seem to me that they wouldn’t set themselves up for a fall.

    Android is fast becoming the “Public Image” of Google, it probably will never actually amount to the profit they pull in from their real business (Search/Advertising), but it is what they will be known for. They won’t be backing down on this one….

    Larry may be trolling for a new owner though….whether he likes it or not! Google may just decide to spend some duckies and shut him up the old fashioned way….OWN them!

    Just my 2c

  • hector

    software patents are one of the worst evils that humans have made. period.

    and yes, as java is now gpl, count 8 doesn’t seem to stand

  • Ben

    smooter,

    you are as naive as Eric Schmidt. The fact is if Android really takes off on all sorts of devices, who is gonna use Oracle Java ?

  • hector

    @Ben
    Java has no mobile S.O., the only thing they have is an application framework (J2ME), and only basic games on inexpensive mobiles use it. No smartphone or PDA has support for J2ME (maybe some nokias). Java has little business on mobile, and that suit fills only one role: “money pump”

  • bkratzer83

    well if i was the judge i would toss it out my reason “prayer for relief” the judge is not god

  • Phil

    @ whatever. There are no licensing fees for using or distributing a JVM. What I think Google was trying to avoid was having to pass the TCK to call it Java and any issues with not passing it but people still thinking its java. Unless my eyes are deceiving me I just looked at the JVM license last night and it was GPLv2 . At any rate folks take comfort in the fact that whether they run Android in the ground or not they have effectively sealed the doom of Java and in the long run themselves as well. Microsoft .Net now has a clear path as a platform with no major competitor which will pull their DB over Oracle as well.

  • Phil

    Here’s something real interesting.
    -
    java.dzone.com/articles/oracle-suing-google-over-java?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+javalobby%2Ffrontpage+%28Javalobby+%2F+Java+Zone%29
    -
    While he is a Googler there is something else to note. He is the creator of TestNG which is a popular unit testing framework for Java. Suppose he and the Junit guys decide they aren’t going to continue these projects. Is Oracle going to step up and support unit testing frameworks? Can they support all of the open source projects that make Java usable on theory own. The answer is no. I think Oracle has forgotten that Java is virtually useless without its community. With as much drive that has been built up behind testing alone loss of testing frameworks would kill java.

  • Tad

    This is NOT good for Android. Being a big big huge fan of Ellison, he is like a bulldog in a meatshop and wont stop until he has what he wants. He just sued his way into winning the America’s Cup back in Feb.

    This bodes ill for Google.

    Ellison’s boat is way cooler than Schmidt’s. Thats how I determine victory :P

  • wakester

    Android is a boom for Java. Would Oracle prefer they base the App Webkit off of C#?

  • Phil

    Looking further this actually looks worse for Oracle. It appears that the problem is that Sun/Oracle charge a fee for licensing Java for mobile use. Oracle seems to be upset that Google is using Java for free. But theres only one problem. Google doesn’t use Java on Android. They use the Java syntax in their own implementation of a VM and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with that. They have not used any code from any JVM and use the Apache Harmony class libraries hence why this is a patent suit (ideas not code). All they use is the syntax just like C# .Net uses some Java syntax…some call it a superset of Java on Microsofts own VM implementation. What Oracle has done is 1. try to use some trickery in their suit to make it appear that Google is using the Java VM and 2. claim the patents to the basic idea of modern VM as a whole.
    -
    In a nutshell if this were to fly you would not be able to implement any sort of VM or interpreted language from here on out because Oracle could claim its Java and come after you. Thats not going to sit to well with developers. And also it almost seems that Google could simply stop saying that they use the Java syntax and call the language Dalvik and say that its Java-like just like C#. In fact if they played their cards right they could completely shut Oracle down by giving the developer community what they have been screaming for which is a completely open and free language with a Java-like syntax. Everyone that could would abandon Java and I believe thats exactly why Oracle is going after Google in the first place. Just change the name Google and call it a day.

  • Dave H

    @Phil Android doesn’t include Sun’s GPL’d JVM code. Dalvik is a register-based virtual machine with its own bytecode syntax. Java .class files need to be converted to Dalvik Executable (.dex) format before they can work with it.

    Android also contains Java SE-compatible libraries from Apache Harmony. Harmony’s a clean-room reimplementation, and doesn’t contain any of Sun’s GPL’d JVM code either.

    I personally don’t think the copyright infringement case can hold up, but software patents will make this very messy. Logically I guess Google will counter-sue for patent infringement.

  • http://none ice

    I think this will turn into a great push for meego

  • ari-free

    naa Nokia will probably abandon Meego after 6 months just like Maemo.

  • The Don

    @Ben, what Apple-cart did you fall off of? Give it a rest. Android isn’t going anywhere – despite your and Steve’s fondest wishes.

  • Alex

    I just figured it out. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s considers Steve Jobs his best friend, so he’s helping his buddy Steve gang up on Android. I guess he feels he owes him after Steve took his wedding photos: http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-01-14/news/17408182_1_ceo-larry-ellison-romance-novelist-steve-jobs

  • Alessandro

    read this article from mashable http://mashable.com/2010/08/12/oracle-google-android-lawsuit/

    The kicker in this lawsuit is Oracle’s assertion that Google has “induced, caused and materially contributed to the infringing acts of others by encouraging… others to use, copy and distribute” what could be called derivative works.

    this might be the end of Android as we know it

  • Alessandro

    @Alessandro i forgot to mention this quote!

    In addition to requesting monetary compensation, Oracle is also asking that all copies of Java-related work be “impounded and destroyed or otherwise reasonably disposed of.” Does this mean Oracle wants to bring a complete end to Android as it stands if, in fact, the OS uses Java code?

    sorry, was a wrong copy and paste!

  • CaptBebops

    Isn’t it interesting that this patent suit comes up when Android use is growing by leaps and bounds? Why didn’t it occur when Android was starting out? Perhaps this will motivate Google to lead the charge for patent reform (though I doubt it).

  • Astridax

    Yes this is corporate corruption at it’s best. The java platform didn’t really go any where in terms of big name applications. As soon as Google profit from it Oracle feel the need to get a slice of the action, however possible. Even if it means killing their best advocate for the language. This is systematic competition destruction and I feel the link between Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison should be looked at by the anti trust organisations.

  • Ben

    There is also another possibility that oracle might want to get its committers onto android. You know google controls all the input points into android code base, others can only give suggestions, but the actual code-base is totally controlled by Google. Maybe this is a way by Oracle to get in onto the controlling point of Android. I cant really blame Oracle alone. I think Google is also responsible for this mess. They should have expected this.

  • Brad

    Duh Android is NOT java. It’s DALVIK. Get that straight everyone. You can use Java to compile to Dalvik. That’s the only use for Java. The software patents that Oracle cites are also used in many other languages, such as Python or C#.

    This is not a java based attack here. They know they can’t go there since it’s not java. They instead are using the software patents. I doubt it can really go anywhere. Just sabre rattling as usual.

    -Brad

  • Hm

    What Google have done is create Dalvik a system utterly incompatible with “The Java System”. Dalvik uses “Java Language” but then compiles it to something other than Java Bytecodes which only runs in the Dalvik VM.

    The real problem for Oracle is that this incompatible implementation is starting to gain real traction, and there must be a temptation for Google to implement a “desktop Dalvik”. Such a beast would be a serious threat to Java. Oracle know that today Dalvik is gaining popularity by being “Java-like” and luring Java developers to the platform.

    This is analogous to Microsoft’s “J++”, that cuddly Sun Microsystem sued into oblivion “back in the day”.

    Google have take liberties with Java, either knowingly or unknowingly and created a “Java poison pill” that Oracle have no option but to legally defend against.

  • Bitwatcher

    The Java development community does not deserve to parish because of Corporate business tactics , the development community serves us well. Let’s hope the Judge considers that..

  • http://www.themusicvoid.com TMV

    Java may be dropped if Oracle push this, but how long will Google get away with all these law suits? read our view about the ISP problems at http://bit.ly/dvDNK5

  • m

    Good news for Europe, China and Russia (there is no software patents). Android is open and can be used there without Oracle, Microsoft and Google patents restrictions. Thanks United States of Corporations.