A Google staff architect testifies that he removed part of the Java code from Android shortly after Oracle filed its lawsuit in 2010. The reason: Software projects are always being updated.
Oracle v. Google lawsuit in federal court over Google's alleged illegal use of
parts of the Java code base in the Android mobile device operating system has
taken a couple of curious turns.
No. 1: Former Google software architect Dan Bornstein, who helped create
Android, testified April 25 that he took some components of the Sun-developed
Java code out of the configuration shortly after Oracle filed its lawsuit in
2010only months after acquiring Sun in January of that year.
No. 2: The presiding judge, William Alsup, will need to decide whether or not
it is proper that his court reinstitute a now-invalid Java patent. This one
could play a key role in whether Java application programming interfaces (APIs)
are declared part of the open-source Java package or separate and sacrosanct
from free use.
All About the APIs
claims that Google illegally used several Java APIs that Oracle considers its
own intellectual property to help build the Android operating system. Google
contends that the APIs it used cannot be copyrighted because doing so would be
similar to copyrighting a technique used to perform a task. Legally, techniques
are not considered intellectual property.
has claimed it deserves about $1 billion in damages as a result of Google's
alleged copyright infringement. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based corporation
has said it may seek an injunction blocking the sale of Android-based devices
components Bornstein removed from Google's 2010 edition of Android had
been added to it by a third-party contractor, Noser Engineering of Switzerland,
Bornstein told the court. Noser had been directed by the Google team about what
parts of Java it could and could not use when contributing to the development,
why he took the code parts out, Bornstein explained that Android, like most
ongoing software projects, is "a living project" that constantly is
being updated and improved.
former Google architect, who now works for a startup called The Obvious Corp., said
at one point he was involved in an internal Google memo in which it was
suggested that for Android coders and architects with Java experience, it was
permissible to use what code they already knew but not allowable to simply copy
code from other sources.
successful software developers always have a certain amount of "stuff in
their heads" from previous projects, Bornstein said.
Will a Patent Be Re-allowed?
the patent issue, Alsup heard statements from both Google and Oracle over the
possible reissuance of one U.S. patent, No. 5,966,702, which protects a Java
pretrial due diligence in 2011, the U.S. Patent Office ruled that it was
invalid and disallowed for the trial after Google requested that the federal
authority revisit it.
however, Oracle appealed that decision, and the patent office subsequently
reversed its ruling. Alsup now has to make a final decision to allow it back
into evidence or strike it from the case completely.
Microsystems co-founder and former CEO and Chairman Scott McNealy is scheduled
to testify on April 26.
contends that Oracle was planning on getting into the smartphone business
itself, would have been a competitor to Android and simply wants to horn in on
the profits of the popular open-source mobile device system. Ellison testified
April 17 that Oracle did at one time consider acquiring Research In Motion,
maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, and Palm Computing.
released in 2008 by Google to partners such as Samsung, HTC and other
manufacturers for smartphones and tablet PCs, now runs more than 300 million