Java in Android: Oracle Takes Google to Court

August 13, 2010, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Oracle has filed a lawsuit accusing Google of deliberately infringing patents and copyrights that Oracle holds for the Java platform, and wants the internet giant to pay for damages and destroy all violating software. The lawsuit, filed in a Federal Court in Northern California on behalf of Oracle America, has called for all Google Android products and advertisements to be seized. According to the Oracle attorneys, “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.” Oracle had got access to Java when they bought Sun Microsystems in January

Google has declined to comment on the complaint and has stated it has been using Java for apps and other components of Android. The sales of Android-based smartphones have garnered a 27 percent market share, compared to the iPhone’s 23 percent. The lawsuit has now threatened to affect the future of Android based products.

A similar lawsuit happened in 1997 when Sun had filed a complaint against Microsoft over the same technology. Microsoft ended up paying Sun a total of $1bln to settle their dispute. Most of these lawsuits are meant to put pressure on companies to obtain royalties or a settlement payout, Google may agree to a huge settlement sum. Google will not take any risk on the future of Android but there is a possibility for increased production cost of Android if Google and Oracle makes a deal. But Google may have also got a valid license when Sun open-sourced Java in 2006. So it is unclear whether Oracle can press charges. We will just have to wait and see where this will end.

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