Oracle Sues Google Over Android

by Ferman Aziz

Android is among the fastest growing operating systems in the world and needless to say it brings in big revenues to Google. Now, we’ve seen this happen before with successful companies and their products and it’s happening again. Oracle has just filed a suit against Google claiming egregious IP infringement.

Oracle released an official statement today through a rep saying:

In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement.

Oracle owns Sun Microsystems and along with it Java. It states in its formal complaint that the Java Platform is “one of the most important technologies Oracle acquired with Sun.” That can not be argued against and now Oracle is claiming that Android competes with Java as “an operating system software platform for cellular telephones and other mobile devices” and that the Android stack employs Java apps running on a Java-based framework.

Oracle believes that Android and the Android SDK infringe on its patents, and it wants monetary compensation for its unintentional but valid involvement in the mobile OS’s success. Oracle also says Google has known about these patents since the middle of the decade when it hired several Sun Java engineers. The question here is that why did Oracle wait for so long to come up with its grievances and does it have something to do with the success of the Android OS in the last couple of years?

This is not all though. In addition to patent violations, Oracle is also claiming copyright infringement; Java’s code is copyrighted, and Oracle believes Google has used it without any kind of license. It wants that all copies of Java-related work be “impounded and destroyed or otherwise reasonably disposed of.” This plainly means a complete end of the Android OS if it indeed uses Java code.

The law suit sounds quite outrageous and serious and it’ll be interesting to see Google’s response both in the media and in the courts. Or is it an attempt to settle things out of court with a little help from Google’s gazillions? Wait and watch.

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