One of the biggest court cases in tech history begins today in San Francisco. Oracle is suing Google for $1bn claiming it violated several patents and copyrights.
Oracle who inherited the intellectual properties of Java when it took over Sun Microsystems in 2009 claim that Google’s Android operating system infringes on several of its IP rights relating to the program language.
Java, which was released in 1995, allows software to run across several computer platforms, rather than just being limited to one type of operating system. Oracle argues that by using its intellectual property (java), and then giving Android away for free, Google is undermining the possibility of it licensing Java to mobile phone makers.
“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.”
While Oracle is not suing Google for the direct code being applied to Android, it is pursuing the case based on the use of API’s (application program interfaces). Oracle claim that Google are using its code in 37 API’s that are used by developers to allow programs to communicate. Oracle claim that 103,400 of it’s lines are being used on Androids developer website.
While large corporations suing each other is nothing new. This one may have more of an impact. If Oracle win the court case it could either force Google to change the Android code, making several millions apps useless. Or force Google to charge for development of apps.
Kitguru Says: The impact of this case could be felt for years to come and if Oracle win will this stifle the open source development?