Print 8 comment(s) - last by drycrust3.. on Jun 23 at 2:41 PM

Judge's decision narrowly followed the jury's -- Oracle did not sufficiently prove infringement

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) at one time hoped to win as much as $7B USD from Google Inc. (GOOG) for its allegedly unauthorized use of certain license-only Java source files.  That wouldn't be a bad payday  -- in fact it would almost entirely justify the $7.4B USD Oracle paid to acquired Java-maker Sun Microsystems.

But Oracle's sweet dreams quickly became bitter nightmares as a jury ruled that Google was not guilty of the majority of Oracle's copyright or patent infringement claims.  Faced with the prospect of a billion dollar settlement shrinking to a couple million dollars, Oracle's lawyers are now spinning their wheels in a last ditch effort to try to jump-start the almost-dead lawsuit.

In Northern District of California (San Francisco) they submitted a request to presiding Judge William Alsup requesting $0 of damages "related to Google’s infringement of Oracle’s copyrights in connection with (1) the rangeCheck code in and, and (2) the eight decompiled files (seven '' files and one 'ACL' file)."

Sun Microsystems
Oracle's get-rich-quick-via-lawsuits scheme for Sun Microsystems didn't exactly
work out as it intended. [Image Source: Eric Faller]

Judge Alsup seemed somewhat surprised at the apparent surrender from the Oracle legal crew, commenting, "Is there a catch I need to be aware of?"

Well, there was indeed a catch.  Oracle is agreeing to toss aside whatever pittance it would have received for the few scraps of infringement the jury tossed its way for a reason.  By ending the trial, it will be able to move ahead more quickly to its appeal, where it will challenge the jury's findings on the more major infringement claims.

It if it wins, the case will be sent back before Judge Alsup.  According to IDG News service, Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs mustered a quip, telling Judge Alsup and the audience in attendance, "I hope we see you again after an appeal."

Oracle is in a tough spot as it now finds itself having to play offense against Google, while playing defense against Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) which claims that Oracle breached contracts when it dropped support for Intel Corp.'s (INTC) Itanium architecture.  That lawsuit is also tied to the Sun acquisition, as Sun Microsystems (and now Oracle, by proxy) makes the SPARC processor architecture, an Itanium competitor.  Oracle denies breaching its contract to favor its new acquisition, but on the surface there's certain somewhat of an appearance that it did precisely that.

Oracle wasn't the only big loser in the Google Java case.  The "not guilty" ruling was also a blow to blogger Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents who long claimed that Google would be found guilty and have to pay massive damages.  Coincidentally, Mr. Mueller's objectivity was recently called into question when it was revealed he was on Oracle's payroll.

Source: ComputerWorld

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By drycrust3 on 6/21/2012 12:04:34 PM , Rating: 2
My understanding is Java 5 was released under the GNU General Public Licence. I think that pretty well means Oracles hopes of suing Google were dependent upon showing Google had breached the conditions of that licence. To me, whether Google copied this bit or that bit of the Java code is irrelevant, because the GPL allows them to do that.
What GPL doesn't allow them to do is change the conditions of the licence. To me, if Google wanted to use Java for an operating system, then they can do that provided they release that OS under the same GPL licence. Android is released under the Apache licence, which has different conditions attached to it, so I think Google should have got permission from Sun to use Java under the Apache licence, but they didn't.

By Noriaki on 6/21/2012 12:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
It's more complicated than that. Roughly google claims that Android is based on the Apache Harmony implementation of Java, not Sun's. Naturally Harmony is Apache licensed.

By bug77 on 6/21/2012 12:30:11 PM , Rating: 2
OpenJDK is GPL, but Sun/Oracle JDK is not. I believe Android is based on OpenJDK, but I don't know what kind of ownership Oracle claimed over that (though they went as far as claiming copyright not for source code - because clearly Google didn't copy any of that - but rather the API and its structure).

Oh, and I'd love to hear again from those that were flooding various posts with their certainty that Google was just ripping off Oracle's IP.

By WalksTheWalk on 6/21/2012 2:40:02 PM , Rating: 3
Android uses the open source Dalvik Java VM which was created before Android existed and licensed using the Apache license model. Google simply tweaked it to their ends and released the source with the Android platform in accordance with the license.

Dalvik is a Java implementation that has the same API methods and properties as Java, but implements different underlying code. In this case, the judge ruled that API's are non-copyrightable in the first place so it's really a non-issue. Google used it instead of licensing the official Java VM so they could have some control over Android's source code.

In this case, the only infringement that was found were several lines of code found to be too similar to Oracle's Java VM.

I liken this to a book analogy: If I copied the index structure of another book, but the title, chapters and everything else is different, does the copyright holder of the book whose index structure I copied have the right to compensation? In this case the judge said no, they don't. I agree what that decision, since the content is completely different. It's merely the interface to the content that's the same.

By drycrust3 on 6/23/2012 2:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
My thanks for your analogy. I think you explained it very well.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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