Google filed a request earlier this week seeking a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that pits the tech giant against another powerhouse in technology, Oracle. The case involves parts of Java that Oracle claims copyright over and believes Google has violated when building the Android operating system. While the dollar figure in dispute, $1 Billion, is sizable, Google is framing the question as key to the ability for tech companies to innovate.
Oracle Corp today won a key legal battle over Google when the U.S. appeals court decided that Oracle could copyright certain part of the Java programming, used by Google to design Android.
Oracle originally sued Google in 2010, claiming that they had improperly used Java in Android. Because of that they are seeking around $1 billion in damages on the copyright claims.
I’m sure most of you remember the Google/Oracle lawsuit that took place over a year ago. Oracle claimed Google infringed on their copyright of Java and used pieces of copyrighted Java code to build Android, so Oracle thought they deserved a slice of Google’s profit. Considering Google has sold an absolutely incredible amount of Android phones, Oracle claimed they were owed about 6 billion dollars in damages. That eventually got cut to 1 billion in damages, but ultimately the case was ruled in favor of Google. To add insult to injury, Oracle was slapped with Google’s legal fees on top of everything.
Looks like Google might be in the hot seat again because competitors filed a new antitrust complaint against them in the EU alleging that the Android OS gives an unfair advantage for Google apps. The complaint was filed by Fairsearch Europe, which consists Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle. Lead lawyer for Fairsearch said that Google is using Android “as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today,” He is referring to the fact that Android OEM’s have a contractual obligation to place Google-branded apps such as Maps, YouTube, and Drive in “prominent default placement on the phone.”
Remember when Oracle attempted to sue Google due to “supposed” patent infringements that were coded into Android? Google came out on top in that case when the judge ruled in favor for the search giant. Shortly after, we reported that one of the conditions Judge Williams Alsup set for Oracle for filing the case against Google was that Oracle would have to provide for Google’s legal fees if they were to lose the case. We initially reported that the dollar amount could be as high as $300,000, but now it appears that Google thinks it’s much more than that and are now demanding upwards of a cool $4 million. According to Google, “$2.9 million was spent for organization of copied court-necessary documents, $143,341 for transcript services, and $986,978 for compensation of the court-appointed experts.”
Oracle is expected to contest the supposed $4 million that Google is seeking. Obviously, $4 million is just pocket change for the search giant, but I’m sure it’s the principle of it that Google is after. Perhaps it’s a message Google is sending to anyone else that even thinks about attempting to sue them.
Oracle has received another slap in the face as a result of its fight with Google over Java and Android. Judge William Alsup set as one of the conditions for filing the case against Google, that Oracle had to pay Google’s legal fees if they lost. This was intended as a deterrent to avoid wasting the court’s time.
It looks like this was forward thinking on the part of the judge since Oracle lost the case and is now strapped with paying what is believed to be upwards of $300,000, the result of being dragged through the courts multiple times.
Oracle has its sights set on a new target now that it quickly found it was no match for Google. It has decided to go after patent troll and bully Lodsys by seeking invalidation of four of Lodsys’ patents. Here’s the quick rundown of Lodsys: the company has been harassing developers of all types for the last few years by either suing them or offering quick and
demeaning small settlements. Developers generally figured it would be easier to settle, rather than go out through a costly and exhausting legal battle. However, the same developers who were bullied eventually went to Google and asked for some help regarding this. Google filed a report for reexamination back in August 2011 seeking to invalidate two specific patents: “078” and “565”. Generally speaking, if the patents were found invalid, then Lodsys would have no patents and thus, nothing to sue for. The catch to this process is it takes an incredibly long time to go through the process and both Lodsys as well as developers almost always settle before the process is complete.
So what does this have to do with Oracle? Well there is the notion that Oracle is trying to make a few things right away since it lost to Google. You see, like Google-based developers, Oracle developers have also been sued by Lodsys in the past. Seeing that it can at least salvage something from the Google loss, Oracle has decided to sue Lodsys for you guessed it— seeking to invalidate patents. The difference between Oracle’s action against Lodsys and Google’s previous action? Well— this is a lawsuit. This means if Lodsys is found guilty, you can bet Lodsys will be liable for any and all damages including legal fees and additional costs.
Ladies and gents, let the next chapter of the lawsuit games begin.
source: Android Police
Last week the jury found that Google didn’t infringe on Oracle’s patents, but there was still a big issue at hand. Were Oracle’s Java API elements copyrightable? Judge William Alsup made the ruling yesterday and he found that the API’s aren’t covered under copyright law so basically this dismisses the previous infringement claims outright. The Judge said the following:
In closing, it is important to step back and take in the breadth of Oracle’s claim. Of the166 Java packages, 129 were not violated in any way. Of the 37 accused, 97 percent of the Android lines were new from Google and the remaining three percent were freely replicable under the merger and names doctrines. Oracle must resort, therefore, to claiming that it owns, by copyright, the exclusive right to any and all possible implementations of the taxonomy-like command structure for the 166 packages and/or any subpart thereof – even though it copyrighted only one implementation. To accept Oracle’s claim would be to allow anyone to copyright one version of code to carry out a system of commands and thereby bar all others from writing their own different versions to carry out all or part of the same commands. No holding has ever endorsed such a sweeping proposition.
At this point Oracle’s only options are to leave it alone or appeal. They most certainly will appeal, but things look dismal. At this point they will only receive $300,000 for statutory damages. We have statements from both Google and Oracle after the break.
Google and Oracle are still going at it pretty strong and even though Page, Schmidt, Ruben and Google in general have been handing Oracle’s rear to them on a platter, quite a number of tidbits have been revealed over the course of the trail. All sorts of factoids have been coming out about the Android OS, which I’m sure Google isn’t ultimately pleased about. However, from a tech journalist’s perspective, it’s flat out juicy news. The latest to be revealed from the trial is a Google patent revealing NFC functionality between Android handsets. The only question here is, could this be referring to Android Beam or something else?
Android has had Beam since at least October of 2011 which isn’t new news, however, the patent revealed other aspects of the technology dubbed “sharing application states”, to work with apps and functions like messaging, phone call status and playback positions for video and audio. So, now that we’ve seen how Android Beam has come into play, could there be something else up Google’s sleeve with the function? We sure hope so. Stay tuned as we dig a little deeper to find out exactly how Google intends to use Beam in any other way other than just transferring items between devices.
Oh how different things could have been. What you’re looking at above is a prototype image of what Google had in mind for the first ever Android phone back in 2006. As the court battle between Google and Oracle wages on, these interesting little titbits are surfacing from the courtroom via some official documents that Google released. It’s definitely interesting to note that the early prototypes resemble a Blackberry far more than an iPhone, perhaps adding some substance to the argument that Google changed its strategy after the success of the original iPhone.
Another interesting story to surface is that Google intended to subsidise a $9.99 unlimited data plan in partnership with T-Mobile as part of the launch strategy. It’s fair to say that HTC’s G1 was certainly an improvement on the original design although I suspect one or two of us would bite Google’s hands off for an unlimited data plan for less than $10!
Would you have bought this back in 2008? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
source : Android and Me