Print 21 comment(s) - last by Penti.. on Oct 23 at 5:23 AM

Google had fought to keep Oracle from using the email against it

Last year, Oracle sued Google for patent infringement concerning the Android mobile operating system. Oracle claimed that Google had infringed on Java-related patents and copyrights, and Oracle had purchased the rights to Java in 2009 when it purchased Sun Microsystems for $5.6 billion.

Google said it had looked into using other programming languages for its Android mobile operating system, but they apparently didn't meet Google's standards.

"Java is essential for Android," said Al Hilwa, of research firm IDC. "Since Android has been out there for more than a year, most people would have expected they were in compliance with whatever license terms apply."

Not long before Oracle filed its lawsuit, Google had created an email saying that it needed to "negotiate a license for Java." Once the lawsuit erupted, Google fought to keep the email from being used by Oracle in the case.

But now, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled in an order on Thursday that the email is not protected by the attorney client privilege.

"Google has failed to identify any aspect of the challenged order that was clearly erroneous or contrary to law," said Alsup in the ruling.

While this doesn't look good for Google, Alsup already partially granted a request by Google to throw out Oracle's $2.6 billion in damages, saying that 90 percent of the Oracle patents were ruled invalid.

Reports have also noted that Google could drop parts of Java's J2SE code from the Android mobile operating system and avoid further Java-related issues with Oracle.

Source: Reuters

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RE: This is a big deal
By melgross on 10/21/2011 10:43:30 AM , Rating: 1
It will be close to impossible to drop all of this code. Dalvik is such an integral part of Android that it would kill all of the present apps.

But it's even worse. Oracle could get an injunction against sales of all phones and apps. That would stop it dead. It would take time for Google to rework the OS. This is major. If Google loses to Oracle, Android could be dead everywhere that Oracle patents are valid.

But this isn't the only problem for them. Microsoft is making a pretty penny on every Android phone sold, sucking profits out of the already slim numbers these companies are making. Apple has patents that will cut down the ease of use of Android, and Samsung isn't doing well in court with their own FRAND patents in opposition.

And the last is that Google stole code from the Linux Foundation (or whatever it's called), and stripped its copyrights out, claiming its proprietary code as their own, which is against the GPL 2 license. This means that every phone and every app is out of compliance. If some developer who contributed to Linux decides to sue, Google is up shit's creek over that as well.

It doesn't pay to steal other's work and claim it for your own. And certainly not on that scale.

RE: This is a big deal
By wiz220 on 10/21/2011 10:50:05 AM , Rating: 2
Oracle could get an injunction against sales of all phones and apps. That would stop it dead.

I doubt it. In this case Oracle doesn't have a competing product (like Apple vs. Google) so I think their primary motivation here is monetary. Otherwise they probably wouldn't have asked for damages, they would have asked for an injunction right out of the gate, like Apple. I think this case will be settled without too much disruption to Android.

RE: This is a big deal
By melgross on 10/21/2011 11:03:33 AM , Rating: 2
You don't have to have a competing product, though that helps. Google would have to pay dearly.

But remember that Sun won a similar case against Microsoft several years ago, where MS was subverting Java to run only only on Windows. Sun won that case, and prevented Microsoft from using it, even though MS had a license.

Google has also modified the code, which isn't allowed under the license anyway, so they could be in big trouble. This isn't just a situation where they are using the code, as is, and need to only pay for past use as well as future use. This is much more serious.

RE: This is a big deal
By Ragin69er on 10/21/2011 12:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
If the code is modified sufficiently then they technically aren't using the same code and thus the licence is invalid anyways. It comes down to whether or not software is really patentable, since so much of it is obvious.

In all likelihood this will end up with a relatively minor settlement once the majority of the rest of Oracles patents are ruled invalid as is being investigated right now.

People are such doomsday advocates, you would think they should be on the street corner holding a sign!

If Oracle hadn't gotten so greedy in demanding such a huge sum of cash this would be over and done with by now.

RE: This is a big deal
By Murst on 10/21/2011 1:54:14 PM , Rating: 2
If the code is modified sufficiently then they technically aren't using the same code and thus the licence is invalid anyways.

Sorry, but that's just flat out false. You can't just make a derivative to get around the copyright. If you started with something you don't have a license for, your end product will still be violating the same license, no matter how different your end product actually is (as long as it can be proven that you got there from the original, unlicensed code).

RE: This is a big deal
By Fritzr on 10/22/2011 3:08:25 AM , Rating: 2
You need to do a little more reading on copyright law.

Making significant changes to the derivative product allows the new version to be a separate work that is not subject to the original copyright. So-called clean room programming where the coders are given a set of specifications, but no coding requirements other than the result function the same is the usual solution where the language definition itself is not proprietary.

The real problem is that the code base Google used has modules taken from the Sun/Oracle implementation. By claiming that the individual modules were not modified sufficiently to meet the standard in the law, Oracle can invoke copyright infringement for those modules. If Google had 'clean room' code that implemented Java with no connection other than implementing the standardized language definition, there would be less of a problem.

RE: This is a big deal
By Horizon79 on 10/21/2011 3:24:47 PM , Rating: 2
Sun didn't win it. Microsoft settled with them.

RE: This is a big deal
By Murst on 10/21/2011 1:56:22 PM , Rating: 2
In this case Oracle doesn't have a competing product

No competing product? Remember, Oracle isn't suing for a phone, they are suing because Google took their Java code. They could care less about the actual phones, they want their java code protected, and you're making it sound like the ONLY use for Java is in Android.

RE: This is a big deal
By drycrust3 on 10/22/2011 7:06:28 PM , Rating: 2
they are suing because Google took their Java code.

I think its reached the stage where there are two broad approaches Google could take: 1) doing a complete re-write of Android so that it avoids as many of the Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, Logitech, etc, patents and copyright infringements as it can; and 2) offering Microsoft, Oracle, etc a share in the profits from Android.
The potential for Android is that it could be as popular in the foreseeable future as Windows is now, but to achieve that popularity manufacturers will want to know they won't be getting harassed by the legal department from some one that can't be ignored.

RE: This is a big deal
By foolsgambit11 on 10/21/2011 6:34:34 PM , Rating: 2
Dalvik isn't dependent on J2SE. The article implies that removal of J2SE might be enough to save Google. There may be other things Google would have to do to avoid infringement on Oracle's patents. Depends on how things shake out with the whole Apache thing, right?

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