Skip to main content

Oracle Versus Google Android Trial Begins Today

Over in the US, Oracle's lawsuit against Google kicks off today.

Oracle's assertion is that Google's Android mobile operating system infringes its intellectual property rights concerning Java technology. Initially, Oracle claimed Google had violated seven patents, but the scope of that has since been narrowed down to two violations.

Even so, that represents $1 billion in potential damages, a pretty hefty chunk of moolah.

Google, for its part, claims that certain aspects of Java simply can't be copyrighted by Oracle - and indeed those in the software industry are concerned about the precedent which might be set here, should Oracle be victorious.

Oracle's argument runs that because Google used Java technology (which Oracle acquired when the company bought Sun) in Android, and then gave the OS away for nothing, this removed the possibility of Oracle licensing Java to smartphone manufacturers.

Oracle noted: "Because Android exploits Java but is not fully compatible with it, Android represents Sun's, and now Oracle's, nightmare: an incompatible forking of the Java platform, which undermines the fundamental 'write once, run anywhere' premise of Java that is so critical to its value and appeal."

The row centres principally on 37 APIs used in the implementation of Android, which allow devs to write Java-compatible code.

Dan Crow, CTO at Songkick and a former Google tech team leader, told the BBC: "APIs are the glue that allows computer programs to talk to each other - in this case Android apps use them to access the phone's features like its screen and memory."

He added: "If Oracle wins the case and APIs are held to be copyrighted, then in theory, virtually every application - on Android, Mac OS, Windows, iPhone or any other platform - has to be at least re-released under new licence terms."

"This could result in many applications being withdrawn until their legality is resolved."

Those are the far-reaching implications at stake here, and big cheeses are expected to take the stand in the trial which will probably span over the next two months. Both CEOs, Larry Ellison and Larry Page, are likely to be called to the stand.

Source: BBC (opens in new tab)

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.