Google, Oracle Lawsuit: 10 Key Issues to Follow in This Complex Case

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-05-08 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

NEWS ANALYSIS: The Google and Oracle lawsuit is far from over and, if anything, has become more complicated with the partial verdict the jury handed up on May 7. There are a number of points observers need to follow to see where this case is going from here.

Google and Oracle have been fighting a tenacious legal battle over Java and Android that, by all measures, is far from over. However, on May 7, a jury delivered a partial verdict in the case that, in some ways, gives Oracle a slight victory, although both sides are now claiming victory.

The jury said that Google infringed Oracle copyrights for programming tools, as well as just nine lines of code in its Android operating system. Beyond that, Oracle would not be allowed to seek the $1 billion in damages Oracle had been requesting.

The verdict was rather surprising and speaks to the uncertainty that surrounds the mobile world. From Apple to Samsung to Google to Motorola, countless companies are arguing that a competitor violates a patent or copyright that they hold, and in every single case so far, not one of them has been able to reach a final, definitive agreement. Like it or not, these cases will be around for many more years, and judging by the initial ruling in the Google-Oracle case, they won't come to a swift, easy conclusion.

Read on to find out what you should know about the Google-Oracle lawsuit.

1. It's all about Java

Although much of the focus surrounding Oracle's case against Google currently revolves around Android, the real center of the lawsuit is Java. Oracle has argued that Google violates Java copyrights (not patents) in Android, while the search company says it's innocent.

2. Oracle wants serious cash

Oracle has asked the court for $1 billion in damages for Google allegedly copying its intellectual property in Android. However, that figure has long been viewed as wildly expensive, and even if Oracle eventually ekes out a definitive victory, its damages likely won't be anywhere near that high.

3. Google had been willing to come to terms

Although Google has asserted its innocence, the company has reportedly been willing to come to terms with Oracle to prevent a long, expensive, and drawn-out lawsuit. However, Oracle has said that the terms were not acceptable, which brought the companies to the current case.

4. Google lost

Now that the background is out of the way, let's get to the present: Google lost in the first ruling in the case. A jury found that the search company did, indeed, infringe upon Oracle's Java in nine lines of code. The jury also found that Google infringed on 37 Java APIs. So, Google lost the first battle in the war.



 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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