Google denied Oracle's claims of patent and copyright infringement related to its use of Java in Android. Google also alleged Oracle is singling out Android among open-source software.
Google denied Oracle's claims of patent and copyright infringement related
to its use of Java in Android and countered that the company is singling out
its operating system after years of supporting open-source software.
Oracle, whose patents it controls through its Sun Microsystems acquisition early
this year, in August sued
Google over its use of Java in the open source Android
Android, activated on more than 200,000 devices per day, includes Java
applications running on a Java-based application framework and core libraries
running on a Dalvik virtual machine. Oracle filed seven counts of patent
infringement and one copyright claim.
Google filed its counterclaim in California
district court Oct. 4, asking the judge to dismiss Oracle's suit and render the
patents Oracle holds invalid.
To demonstrate inconsistency on the part of its accuser, Google said Oracle
complained when Sun refused to release all of Java to open source, retaining
control over the use of Java on mobile devices.
That was in 2006. Google stated that Oracle advanced its support for fully
open Java in February 2009, but changed its tune after acquiring Sun in January
"Since that time, and directly contrary to Oracle Corp.'s public
actions and statements, as well as its own proposals as an executive member of
the JCP [Java Community Process], Oracle Corp. and Sun have ignored the open-source
community's requests to fully open-source the Java platform," Google
Google added in a public statement: "It's disappointing that after
years of supporting open source, Oracle turned around to attack-not just
Android-but the entire open-source Java community with vague software patent
claims. Open platforms like Android are essential to innovation, and we will
continue to support the open-source community to make the mobile experience
better for consumers and developers alike."
Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger dismissed this position, noting that
Google chose to use Java code without obtaining a license when it built
"Additionally, it modified the technology, so it is not compliant with
Java's central design principle to -write once and run anywhere',"
Hellinger added. "Google's infringement and fragmentation of Java code not
only damage Oracle, it clearly harms consumers, developers and device
Oracle's suit is one of a few major legal attacks against Android, though
the first specifically against Google, which released the OS code to open
source in 2008. The bulk of the legal blows against Android have come against
manufacturers who built Android smartphones.
Apple in March sued HTC, claiming it
violated 20 of its patents surrounding the iPhone's interface, architecture and
hardware. Microsoft just last week sued
Motorola, claiming its Android smartphones violated nine
IDC analyst Al Hilwa told eWEEK the legal
skirmishes waged against Android will continue for some time, sowing seeds of
doubt over the Android platform and those who choose to build smartphones, tablet
computers and applications for it.
"Microsoft suing Motorola casts additional shadows on Android, but I
don't see any sign that Google will step in with any promise to indemnify
Android OEMs for patent-infringement liabilities, so that uncertainty continues
in the market," Hilwa added. "Lawsuits like this are not going to
accelerate the adoption of Android, though I haven't seen anyone walk away just