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Google The Courts Communications Handhelds Oracle Patents Software Your Rights Online

Legal Analysis of Oracle v. Google 206 206

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Martin Heller provides an in-depth analysis of Oracle's legal argument against Google, a suit that includes seven alleged counts of software process patent infringement and one count of copyright infringement. 'Oracle's desired relief is drastic: not just permanent injunctions, but destruction of all copies that violate copyright (thus, wiping all Android devices), plus triple damages and legal costs. Also, it demands a jury trial,' Heller writes, and while this amounts mainly to saber-rattling, the Supreme Court's recent Bilski ruling did not completely invalidate software process patents despite their shaky ground due to prior art."
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Legal Analysis of Oracle v. Google

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  • Haw. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Friday August 20, 2010 @02:07AM (#33310910) Homepage Journal
    Everybody knows how to use Googles' services, but not everybody's had the displeasure of working with Oracle's often slow-as-shit Java databases. Oracle's balls in this case are a typical indication of its niche-but-top-heavy domination in the 'states.
  • by colinrichardday (768814) <> on Friday August 20, 2010 @03:01AM (#33311124)

    1) Oracle is suing Java over Android.

    Doesn't Oracle own Java, at least to the extent that anyone owns Java?

  • Re:A jury Trial (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aeternitas827 (1256210) on Friday August 20, 2010 @03:29AM (#33311222)
    It would actually seem a wiser move, for a Civil case; the burden of proof is much lower, all Oracle must make them see is that 'The company we bought made this, and those guys stole it, based on X, Y, Z (without getting exceedingly technical), where everyone else has had to pay to use it.' Google are the ones who have to get technical, and will likely lose the jury in trying to split hairs to make it seem like they really didn't 'steal' their implementation. It basically comes down to good guy vs bad guy, and Oracle are pretty confident that, should this reach trial, they can play a pretty decent good guy.
  • by debatem1 (1087307) on Friday August 20, 2010 @06:25AM (#33311860)
    You can call back up into Java from the JNI, so technically the NDK exposes everything that the Java side does. I used this to allow Python access to the android libraries via javalin2 last year.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @07:42AM (#33312076)

    That's the thing - THERE IS NO JAVA IN ANDROID!

    Android uses the Java language syntax, sorta! When Sun's Java compiler compiles the code and generates bytecode, Google's backend then converts it to Dalvik bytecode. By the time the application is delivered to the Android platform, it has absolutely nothing to do with Java. Even the VMs are completely different. The fact the base language is Java-based is completely irrelevant.

    Ignoring the fact that Oracle is full of shit, last I read, the patents in question were complete bullshit with all of them having prior art. LOTS! What a surprise - someone using patents, which should have never been granted, for the purpose of extortion.

    To make matters even worse, try going to the JAVA IRC groups and even many forums. They'll happily kick/ban your ass for suggesting Android has anything to do with Java. Of course, that shows more ignorance and the trollish nature of Java developers (bordering on absolute stupidity), but it makes the point. Android is not Java! Android does not use Java! The front end, high level language for Android could of just as easily been Python or C#. The use of C# would have been an extremely poor choice for Google. And Python doesn't have a highly optimizing compiler. Which means, using Java as a front end, which Sun has always stated isn't a problem, makes a lot of sense. Especially since Google is a well known Java shop.

  • by silentcoder (1241496) on Friday August 20, 2010 @07:48AM (#33312106) Homepage

    >>Actually the GPL3 has patent wavier in it so it isn't just a license to do with copyright.

    >Unless Sun/Oracle released the code under GPLv3, Google can't waive Oracle's patents.

    You're both wrong. The GPL has had a patent waiver clause since version 2. It states that if you use or distribute code under it you explicitly give a zero-royalty patent permission to all users who receive it under the license. Sun released OpenJDK under GPLv2 so indeed no patents SUN had on OpenJDK code can be asserted on it or anything derived from it (as explicitly required by the license). The fact that the patents changed ownership should not invalidate this in the least - since the licensee of the copyright was also the patent owner at the time - and granted the explicit patent license, the new owner cannot revoke it unless it can show breach of contract.
    What GPLv3 did was to EXPAND the patent clause to cover things like the Microsoft/Novell deal - whereby if a company distributes any GPLv3 code - and obtains or purchases patent protection from third party (as Novell did) it HAS to offer this patent protection free of charge to all recipients of the code regardless who they got it from. If they are not willing to do so - they may not distribute (or derive from) the code, or alternatively they can refuse to sign such a deal - but what it basically did was make sure nothing with a GPLv3 license can be in Suze Linux unless Novell manages to convince Microsoft to change the patent protection deal so it's free to all users of said code.
    As it turned out - GPLv3 effectively killed the Microsoft patent racket and no distro has signed up for it since Xandros several years ago now.

    Either way it wouldn't be google waiving Oracle's patents - SUN already waived them, themselves for any OpenJDK derivatives. The trouble is Google didn't use OpenJDK - in fact technically speaking Android doesn't run java AT ALL.
    It doesn't run Harmony either - it contains no JVM whatsoever (the Oracle Lawyers are obviously confused).

    Dalvik is NOT a JVM. It does not, indeed CANNOT, run Java Bytecode. It has it's own bytecode format. Google just provided a toolkit that let you compile Java sourcecode to Dalvik Bytecode rather than Java Bytecode. This compiler used the much of the classpath code from Harmony to ensure it was compatible with Java source code as far as possible - but that's the extent of it.

    I think Oracle is in for a major shock - Google had originally planned to use an adapted JVM but since SUN wouldn't give them what they needed from one, and Java had patents over it, they chose not to. They instead did a clean-room implementation of their own VM that just happens to have a compiler that can convert Java code (and Bytecode) to it's own. In fact, the technique is identical to the way IKVM runs Java on .net.
    That's the real issue here - if Oracle can somehow convince a judge that what Google did DOES in fact violate their patents (unlikely since it's not even a replacement technology or even a compatible one, it merely contains a compatibility layer but Dalvik native Bytecode can in theory be compiled from any language you write a compiler for) then that means Oracle can sue Microsoft next and win under case-law.
    They'd control not only Java but essentially all VM-executeable software development ! I sincerely doubt that the patents they have can cover widely enough to give them that (unless the judge is REALLY stupid and Google really REALLY mess up their defense) but I think Larry thinks the possible pay-off is worth the risk of failure.
    Look at the damages sought- it includes WIPING EVERY ANDROID CLEAN ! Regardless that these devices belong to CONSUMERS - not to google ! If Oracle can convince the court that any JVM capable of running code translated from Java Bytecode violates it's patents - then wiping every Android at will is the kind of power they will gain, not just in mobile but over all programming. Over .net, over java, hell even over Python (beca

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday August 20, 2010 @09:17AM (#33312720)
    Old English legal saying. If you are guilty (or have a bad civil case) choose a jury. If you have a strong case or are innocent, choose a judge. If Oracle had any kind of strong case, they would obviously want a trial without jury because it would be over faster, their costs would be lower and they would get redress quicker. So? So this looks like a classical Von Falkenhayn Battle [] (after the German WW1 Minister who wanted a battle that would be inconclusive but would go on a long time, so as to wear out the French. Unfortunately, just as with SCO, he wore out the Germans as well.)
  • by farble1670 (803356) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:08PM (#33315022)

    That's the thing - THERE IS NO JAVA IN ANDROID!

    oracle is suing because they hold many patents that are expressed in sun's (their) JVM/JDK, but also expressed in android / dalvikVM. that's the thing about patents, it doesn't matter if they aren't using something called "java", they are using a lot of ideas behind java.

    Android uses the Java language syntax, sorta!

    actually the android SDK is based on the java language, exactly.

  • by farble1670 (803356) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:13PM (#33315080)

    whereas Google took Java, possibly embraced and extended, BUT did NOT call it Java - there can be no confusion over the resultant code being able to run everywhere there is a JRE - but also created a cross-compiler which took Java [source] and converted it to their version.

    i'm on a few android aliases, and this question comes every week or so. developers are constantly confused, so i think it's a bit of an overstatement to say "there can be no confusion".

  • Re:Jury trial (Score:3, Interesting)

    by turkeyfish (950384) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:46PM (#33315476)

    Given that it would seem the jury pool will consist only of people who don't own a cell phone or a computer, which should really provide a crap shoot for all involved. Might as well let the judge be that octopus that perfectly predicted the World Cup results.

The early bird who catches the worm works for someone who comes in late and owns the worm farm. -- Travis McGee