Java Creator Gosling: Oracle's Android Lawsuit Is No Surprise

While the Oracle lawsuit against Google over Java may have come as a surprise to some, it was not unexpected by others, including Java creator James Gosling.

In what some characterize as a battle in the making ever since Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, Oracle has leveled a lawsuit against Google for patent and copyright infringement over the use of Java in the Android mobile device platform.

Indeed, Sun had its issues with Android, but did not file suit. Java's new master, Oracle, is a different animal.

Oracle issued a press release on its lawsuit late on Aug. 12 stating that Google had infringed on Oracle's intellectual property.

"In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement," said Oracle spokesperson Karen Tillman in a statement.

Google could not be reached for comment.

In an Aug. 12 blog post on the matter, Java creator James Gosling said:

"Oracle finally filed a patent lawsuit against Google. Not a big surprise. During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation between Sun and Google, we could see the Oracle lawyer's eyes sparkle. Filing patent suits was never in Sun's genetic code. Alas....

"I hope to avoid getting dragged into the fray: they only picked one of my patents (RE38,104) to sue over. "

In its complaint against Google, filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, Oracle calls for a jury trial. Oracle's complaint acknowledges that Java is one of the most important technologies Oracle acquired from Sun.

Oracle also called for the court to block further infringement by Google by several means including stopping Google from distributing any more copies of Android or advertising about Android, and to impose treble damages on Google for its "willful and deliberate" infringement on Oracle's intellectual property.

"As a direct and proximate result of Google's direct and indirect willful copyright infringement, Oracle America has suffered, and will continue to suffer, monetary loss to its business, reputation, and goodwill," the Oracle complaint said.

Moreover, "Without consent, authorization, approval, or license, Google knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully copied, prepared, published, and distributed Oracle America's copyrighted work, portions thereof, or derivative works and continues to do so," the complaint said.

Oracle's complaint also said that Android users, including device manufacturers, have to obtain and use copyrightable portions of the Java platform to build and use Android devices. However, as that use was not licensed by Sun, "Google has thus induced, caused, and materially contributed to the infringing acts of others by encouraging, inducing, allowing and assisting others to use, copy, and distribute Oracle America's copyrightable works, and works derived therefrom."

A key issue in the case is the Dalvik virtual machine (VM) that Google ships with Android. Oracle claims that the Dalvik VM violates several Oracle patents - seven, in fact. Indeed, Oracle claims Google has been aware of these patents since the middle of this decade, "when Google hired certain former Sun Java engineers," Oracle's complaint said.

According to Oracle, "Android (including without limitation the Dalvik VM and the Android software development kit) and devices that operate Android infringe one or more claims of each of United States Patents Nos. 6,125,447; 6,192,476; 5,966,702; 7,426,720; RE38,104; 6,910,205; and 6,061,520."