Skip to main content

Bloke finds copied Java code in Google's Android

Intellectual property campaigner Florian Mueller says he has found numerous examples of what appears to be code copied from Java and used in versions of Google's Android operating system without permission.

Mueller says the findings amount to evidence that Oracle might use in its legal dispute with Google which relates to Java patents and copyrighted material alleged to feature in the Android OS.

"The discovery process could be very fruitful for Oracle, and may become dreadful for Google," Mueller, founder of the NoSoftwarePatents web site (opens in new tab), wrote in a blog post (opens in new tab).

Oracle has claimed that, "in developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement," Oracle spokeswoman Karen Tillman said when the suit was filed back in August.

Mueller says he has found six files in the Android code that look like Java files. These are in addition to the code mentioned in Oracle's complaint The files appear in both 'Froyo' and 'Gingerbread' versions of Android.

The researcher said he has also found a further 37 files in the Android code that are marked as "PROPRIETARY/CONFIDENTIAL" by Sun with a copyright notice file that says: "DO NOT DISTRIBUTE!"

The files appear to relate to the Mobile Media API of the Sun Java Wireless Toolkit, he notes.

"Google faces a steep challenge in its defense against Oracle's lawsuit over seven Java patents and some copyrighted material," he wrote.

There has ensued some debate about the nature of the code. Over at ZDNet, Ed Burnette argued that some of the code was deleted from shipping versions of Android. Other files, he said, may be lurking about accidentally.

But Mueller argues that many Android devices have shipped with much of the code in question.

In an interesting twist to the story, the code Oracle - and now Mueller - claims Google lifted was developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle spent a small fortune to acquire around a year ago.

Google's newly ex-ed CEO, Eris Schmidt, was previously Sun's chief technology officer.

ITProPortal.com monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.