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Google's Andy Rubin (pictured) is accused of conducting "brazen" infringement of Oracle Java intellectual property on behalf of his employer, as evidenced by a 2005 email in which Rubin, seems to acknowledge that Google may be sued.  (Source: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Oracle wants to milk a lucrative licensing settlement out of Google, as well as damages. While a big damages payday was hurt by the recent ruling, the chances of Google being forced to licensed appear to have increased.  (Source: Reuters)
Google scores a win, though, in reducing damage amount from $2.6B USD

Oracle Corp.'s (ORCL) efforts to milk billions of dollars in damages out of Google Inc. (GOOG) were likely stymied last Friday, when U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup partially granted a request by Google to throw out Oracle's $2.6B USD in proposed damages.

The suit [Scribd] dates back almost a year to August 12, 2010.  Oracle accused Google of infringing upon its intellectual property, based on certain files contained within Google's popular Android operating system.  Namely, Android was accused of using source code from the Apache distribution of Java, which did not properly license the Java-related intellectual property of Sun Microsystems. Oracle acquired Sun on January 12, 2010 after a process initiated in April 2009.

Surprisingly, Google did not counter-sue.  And Google seemingly admitted to knowing that the Apache code was in violation.  However, Google complained that Sun's intellectual property was overly generic and that Sun (and later Oracle) were being anticompetitive in trying to charge prohibitively large licensing fees.

So far, the courts have likely supported Google on the former claim.  Approximately 90 percent of the Oracle patents examined were ruled invalid, on par with the standard for patent litigation.

However, on the latter claim -- that Oracle is being unfair -- Judge Alsup was unsympathetic.  He quotes a 2005 email from Android chief Andy Rubin, who writes [Scribd]:

If Sun doesn't want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language - or - 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way

That language, Judge Alsup reasons is "Soviet-style negotiation" and "brazen" disregard of intellectual property rights.  He opines:

This would be a Soviet-style negotiation: "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable."... The test is not what the infringer actually bargained for but what reasonable parties would have negotiated. Google may have simply been brazen, preferring to roll the dice on possible litigation rather than to pay a fair price.

While the ruling was generally supportive of Oracle, it makes one very significant stance against the technology giant.  Namely, it dismisses Oracle's theory that since parts of Android are accused of infringing, that all of Android is effectively infringing.  Rather, Judge Alsup writes, the relative value of the potentially infringing parts must be the basis of the damages -- not the value of Android as a whole.

The good news for Google is this means it likely won't have to give a windfall payout to Oracle.  Oracle can try to come up with a revised damages claim that's higher, but the company's prospects of being award over a billion in damages appear to be dwindling.

The bad news for Google is that the language of the ruling is generally very unfavorable for it.  Thus if Oracle prevails, while it may only obtain a small settlement, it may be able to obtain an injunction preventing the sale of all Android handsets.  This would force Google to pay likely large licensing fees to Oracle, on top of the fees its partners already pay or are being pressured to pay to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

If that wasn't bad news enough for the producer of world's leading smartphone operating system, Google still has to worry about Apple, Inc. (AAPL) who is currently suing all three [1][2][3][4][5] of the world's top Android manufacturers -- Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI), Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO:005930), and HTC Corp. (TPE:2498).




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Bad Decision?
By Ilfirin on 7/25/2011 3:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
"If Sun doesn't want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language - or - 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way"

With option 1 they'd have a platform that would be a dream to develop for *and* there likely wouldn't have been a single lawsuit over Android (not from Apple, Microsoft or Sun, nor any against HTC, Samsung, et al). Instead we get a horribly fragmented mess of a platform with apps that don't have to pass any QA requirements, a development environment that crashes on you ever 30 seconds and every tech company in the world is sueing each other.

Lovely.




RE: Bad Decision?
By DigitalFreak on 7/25/2011 3:33:19 PM , Rating: 1
... and yet it's still beating iOS devices in sales.


RE: Bad Decision?
By DigitalFreak on 7/25/2011 3:33:57 PM , Rating: 2
iOS based phones, rather


RE: Bad Decision?
By melgross on 7/25/2011 3:42:53 PM , Rating: 2
Of course, you can get Android phones for $10, two for the price of one, for free, etc. Apple isn't competing at the bottom of the barrel. The only cheap iPhone you can buy is the over two year old 3GS, which is still more popular than most Android phones. But there are over 300 models of Android phones, compared to two iPhones, and the iPhone is still not available in anywhere near as many countries or carriers.

There are a handful of countries that do sell the iPhone cheaply, or give it away with a contract, but it's rare.


RE: Bad Decision?
By sigmatau on 7/25/2011 5:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
And you could get an iPhone 3GS for under $50 for about a year now. Those Android phones you mentioned are on the lower end. Unlike Apple, Android phones do have sales on newer hardware.


RE: Bad Decision?
By Ilfirin on 7/25/2011 4:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
The only way Google could have made the Android any worse, from a developer perspective, is if they chose to go with Objective-C AND allow the infinite carrier and IHV customizations that has enabled the platform fragmentation/inability to update any phones (note: Windows Mobile, before WP7, did this as well - it was what ultimately killed the OS). Objective-C, alone, without the fragmentation makes iOS development *slightly* less painful than Android. But only slightly. Actually I wouldn't even say it's better at all, except for the fact that you generally make a lot more money with iOS apps than you do with Android apps. So you get paid for your pain.

I'm sorry I just don't like having to write a version of my application for every single combination of Carrier & Handset out there. You can't just write an 'Android' app and have it run on Android. You have to have thousands of 'platform version checks' splattered all around your code to detect when you're running an HTC Desire, or a Motorolla Droid, or if you're on Verizon's version of the code for that handset or one of the other providers, etc. It's a miserable nightmare.

Seriously, go make an android or iOS app using the languages and tools they provide and then go back to C# in Visual Studio and tell me you wouldn't be a LOT happier with the latter.


RE: Bad Decision?
By FITCamaro on 7/25/2011 4:55:28 PM , Rating: 1
How does a particular version of the OS on one manufacturer's handsets differ from that on another carrier's?

I ask this for development knowledge.


RE: Bad Decision?
By sprockkets on 7/25/11, Rating: 0
RE: Bad Decision?
By os2baba on 7/26/2011 9:51:37 AM , Rating: 2
What a load of crock! I write Android apps and I don't have different versions for different phones and carriers. You do have to tweak for different OS versions. This is no different than doing it for various iOS versions or writing a desktop app. If you don;t use absolute positioning and use device independent pixels, your app will run on multiple screen sizes without any problem - the reason why so many Android apps run just fine on tablets without having to be recoded (they should be to take advantage of the real estate, but they don't *need* to).

I do agree that emulators can help only so much and you will end up having to test on multiple devices. But you will only discover trivial issues.

Certain apps that stress the hardware (Angry Birds comes to mind), has to be coded for less powerful devices. No different than Rage HD working only on later iPhones.


RE: Bad Decision?
By rs2 on 7/27/2011 7:16:13 PM , Rating: 1
More nonsense. Visual Studio is one of the worst IDE's ever conceived. If that it your preferred development environment, then it is speaking volumes about your breadth and experience as a developer. And none of it is positive.


RE: Bad Decision?
By Pirks on 7/25/11, Rating: -1
RE: Bad Decision?
By B3an on 7/25/11, Rating: 0
RE: Bad Decision?
By sprockkets on 7/25/2011 6:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
Except Dalvik !=Java. They cleaned up all the stupid parts of Java when making their own.


RE: Bad Decision?
By rs2 on 7/26/2011 7:02:51 PM , Rating: 2
You're not seriously suggesting that C# and the .NET runtime are a better platform choice than Java, are you? Or that developers "dream" of developing in C# using the clunky mess that is Visual Studio instead of flexible, robust, and cross-platform tools like IntelliJ, Eclipse, and the like? Oh wait, you are.

You sir, are insane.


What rea*@* seems messed up..
By JediJeb on 7/25/2011 3:59:58 PM , Rating: 3
To me what really seems messed up is that in 2003 Android was first developed, 2005 Google purchased the company. Even this early the source code was public for Android so everyone could know exactly what was in it. Yet even though this version of Java was in there even this long ago, Sun never made any fuss about it. Then in August 2010 Oracle decides to sue Google for infringement, although it had purchased Sun back in April 2009. Oracle had waited over a year after acquiring Sun to even bring this infringement up and it was at least 5 years after it was a matter of public knowledge what was in Android concerning Java.

To me anything done prior to Oracle's purchase should not be something Oracle can touch as far as patents are concerned. This "after the fact" style of going after a patent infringement only after that infringement has become something that generates a large amount of money should not be allowed. If you are not concerned about it before it becomes profitable to someone else then you should lose your rights to it. If you are worried about someone infringing on your IP then you should sue as soon as it is known, if you delay then you should lose your right to do so. This is especially so if as in this case the prior owner of the IP did not take action then the new owner decides to make a windfall from it.




RE: What rea*@* seems messed up..
By adiposity on 7/25/2011 4:41:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
To me anything done prior to Oracle's purchase should not be something Oracle can touch as far as patents are concerned.


I don't agree. When you purchase a company you have the right to file lawsuits that the company was entitled to file. You acquire all the rights that company had--that's the point of buying the company!

Basically you are making all companies out there less valuable when acquired then they are before acquisition. This makes no sense and could lead to valuable companies that are going under not ever being purchased. You may not like that Sun was acquired by Oracle, but it's better than everything Sun developed just disappearing. If Oracle perceived that Sun wasn't being properly compensated for their IP, then that was part of the value of purchasing the comany.

Now, as far as this lawsuit, I personally believe that Google, by creating Dalvik, bypassed the need to license J2ME. The Apache licensed files are another matter, and they will probably get in some trouble for that, but since they already stopped using them I'm not sure it will be a big deal.


RE: What rea*@* seems messed up..
By sprockkets on 7/25/2011 5:37:55 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, but Oracle was vocal about Sun releasing Java and the validation suite in the GPL. Then when Oracle bought Sun they changed their mind. This lead to the whole apache debacle.

Google should have done better, but really, they just invalidated a bunch of stupid software patents. That is good in my book.


RE: What rea*@* seems messed up..
By Tony Swash on 7/25/11, Rating: 0
RE: What rea*@* seems messed up..
By sprockkets on 7/25/2011 7:36:07 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, just like Apple did with the iphone trademark.

Gofuckyourself Tony.


RE: What rea*@* seems messed up..
By Tony Swash on 7/26/11, Rating: 0
RE: What rea*@* seems messed up..
By sprockkets on 7/26/2011 7:50:25 AM , Rating: 3
quote:

I think you will find Apple bought that trademark. This may come as shock but there is a difference between owning, buying and stealing.


Please check your facts Mr. Cupping Balls

quote:
Think about what you are really angry about. The messenger or the message? The world is not developing as you expected or hoped. Adapt. Get over it. Move on.


It's called we are tired of your stupid crap. You should move on to an apple forum where your lies are perfectly acceptable since they are so drunk on kool aid.


By Tony Swash on 7/26/2011 10:26:56 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
You should move on to an apple forum where your lies are perfectly acceptable since they are so drunk on kool aid.


Nah - I want to stay here and keep you company :)

Here is a thought for you to chew on.

Which big tech company's business is built solely on a software patent?

The answer is Google of course ( U.S. Patent No. 6,285,999).


By zephyrprime on 7/26/2011 11:20:20 AM , Rating: 2
Nobody had ever even heard of android back in 2003 or 2005 for that matter. It wasn't until about 2008 that anyone had ever even heard about android. Also, if you sue before the product makes any money, you will be paying more for lawyers fees than you would get in the settlement. The awarding of claims is based on damages and the damages from a product that has zero sales is zero.


Can someone please explain this lawsuit
By phatboye on 7/25/2011 3:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
I've tried googling it and even following the links in this article but I'd like a little more details on exactly what Oracle is suing for. Isn't Java covered by the GPL license? If so isn't Google free to make their own version of Java or am I missing something here?

Thanks




RE: Can someone please explain this lawsuit
By JasonMick on 7/25/11, Rating: 0
By adiposity on 7/26/2011 12:28:10 PM , Rating: 2
why is this rated down?


RE: Can someone please explain this lawsuit
By dgingeri on 7/25/2011 3:15:38 PM , Rating: 3
Desktop Java is GPL, but Java Mobile is not. It is still licensed at an undisclosed rate per device.


By phatboye on 7/25/2011 4:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
thanks


By sprockkets on 7/25/2011 7:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
And as someone pointed out, what makes "Java mobile" mobile?

Android never used anything "mobile" from Java. That was made for dumb phones from 8 years ago.


nice
By TechIsGr8 on 7/26/2011 12:25:13 AM , Rating: 2
And somehow Oracle wasn't brazen for their hostile takeovers of their main competitors?




RE: nice
By Tony Swash on 7/26/2011 6:59:12 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
And somehow Oracle wasn't brazen for their hostile takeovers of their main competitors?


It may have been brazen but at least it was legal. The issue here is Google breaking the law and, based on the released evidence, doing so deliberately.

Is that good or is that bad?


By riottime on 7/25/2011 6:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
seems like this would be the logical choice for google? unless chrome os uses java as well! :D

java sucks go back to assembly. ;)




brazen disregard?
By mackx on 7/26/2011 5:31:18 AM , Rating: 2
isn't that how it works? the US patent system is so screwed up that you basically *have to* ignore them and fight it out after?

in this case, 90% were invalid so why would you do anything but ignore these?




How would Google react?
By shompa on 7/28/2011 10:50:52 AM , Rating: 2
If I used Googles search engine code to build an new search engine. Would Google sue me?




By dark matter on 7/26/2011 2:26:53 AM , Rating: 1
Then why the fuck were they granted in the first place.

Seems like a money making scheme by the government, the lawyers and the judges.

Any service, no matter what, that is wrong 90% of time is most definitely broken.




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