Google to pay Oracle $0

Oracle has lost its big Java case against Google with the search engine ordered to pay him nothing for his efforts.

According to Computerworld, Google has been told that it has 14 days to file an application for Oracle to pay its considerable legal fees in the case.

Obviously Oracle is upset and is planning to appeal, but to be fair to Google, the case was decided when Judge William Alsup revealed he was a programmer.

This meant it was an unusual case in that the Judge knew more about programming than the lawyers. A couple of times when they tried to spin something, Alsup knew it was not true.

He also knew what the impact of some of his decisions would be on the programming world.

The case was based on the fact that Android uses a variant of the Java programming language / platform called ‘Dalvik’.

At the time Java’s copyrights were owned by Sun and then Larry Ellison bought the company. The idea was to gain access to Java’s patents, since Java is one of the most commonly used programming languages.

Oracle thought it could have a claim against Android because of a similarity of APIs between Java and Dalvik.

But as Alsup knew, APIs are one of the most commonly replicated pieces of software. If APIs were patented most companies that write software would then have to pay large numbers of licensing fees to their original makers.

Alsup knew that people would have to pay even if they do their operations in two completely different ways.

It was the same as claiming that a full stop could be patented and anyone who uses one would have to pay up.

Oracle originally sued Google for $6.1 billion but was forced to lower that demand to $226 million.

Google offered Oracle $28 million to go away but Ellison said no. Then the Judge lowered that to $150,000. That fell to nothing with Oracle potentially having to pay Google.

Overall, it was a silly case, made sillier by the fact that neither side could really baffle the judge with jargon. Our favourite moment was when one of the Oracle briefs tried to convince Alsup that a piece of code was vital and original and he looked at it and said it wasn’t.