Oracle Sues Google over Java Use in Android

Friday Aug 13th 2010 by Clint Boulton

Oracle sues Google for patent and copyright infringement over Google's use of Java in its Android operating system. The suit could halt Android development on phones, tablets and other platforms.

Oracle Aug. 12 sued Google for patent and copyright infringement over Google's use of Java in its open-source Android operating system.

Oracle, which purchased Sun Microsystems and renamed it Oracle America in January, accused Google of infringing seven Java patents and other copyrights.

Sun has stockpiled thousands of patents for the last 15 years but has released most Java technologies to open source.


Android includes Java applications running on a Java-based application framework, and core libraries running on a Dalvik virtual machine.

According to the suit, "Google actively distributes Android (including without limitation the Dalvik VM and the Android software development kit) and promotes its use by manufacturers of products and applications."    

Contrary to popular belief, it appears Google did not have a licensing agreement with Sun for Java despite Oracle's claim that Google engineers were aware of the patents.

Google, Oracle argued, facilitated the use of Android in smartphones and other products despite knowledge of Sun's existing patents.

"By purposefully and voluntarily distributing one or more of its infringing products and services, Google has injured Oracle America and is thus liable to Oracle America for infringement of the patents at issue," according to the suit.

Oracle is asking the U.S. District Court in Northern California for damages and an injunction against Google from using its IP in Android.

Google did not respond to questions seeking comment about the suit, which may be viewed here.

Two years ago, a suit like this might have killed Android, but now it could turn into a major legal quagmire because Android has gone viral.

The OS ships on 200,000 smartphones per day, outselling Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry in the second quarter, and is appearing on tablet computers.

Google is basing its Web TV service on Android, which is also reportedly being used in gaming platforms.

All of that Android progress could be for naught if the court grants Oracle the injunction it requests to stop the use of Android in products.

The suit is being spearheaded by David Boies, who successfully represented the U.S. Justice Department in its antitrust suit against Microsoft.

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