Oracle finds new evidence in Android copycat lawsuit

New evidence has surfaced in the Oracle lawsuit of Google over Java patents employed in Android – that may see Google losing its case and having to pay licence fees and damages.

Intellectual property expert Florian Mueller posted his recent findings, which suggest that Google may be infringing on more of the disputed Java patents than previously known.

Mueller found an additional six files used in Android 2.2 and 2.3 that feature a similar form of “direct copying” than the original files featured in Exhibit J of Oracle’s complaint. This would mean that Google has continued to employ Java code in new versions of Android, employing more copied files than in older versions. 

He also found another 37 files that were marked with “PROPRIETARY/CONFIDENTIAL” and “DO NOT DISTRIBUTE!” by Sun Microsystems, the creator of Java which was acquired by Oracle in January 2010. Google would need a license for using these, which Mueller does not believe it has.

While Google has already given its source code as evidence in the case, Oracle may seek an amendment to cater for this newly arisen material, which could sway the court’s decision more in its favour.

Another twist in the battle over Android is that because Google listed the Android code as open source, many of the handset manufacturers who employ it are now facing possible challenges for patent infringement. 

These include Motorola, LG and Samsung, all of whom have distributed their source code online, a potential no-no now that the legality of the Apache licence for Android is under question. These companies may or may not have been aware of the proprietary files – and may be able to use that as a defence, but Oracle seems like it has the upper hand, for now.