Oracle is suing Google, claiming that Android violated its patents and copyright to Java.
The case follows Oracle’s decision to buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion and acquiring Java. Before that, Sun was not interested in hitting Google up for cash.
Summing up Oracle’s case, Larry Ellison’s brief Michael Jacobs said the parts of Java software that Google copied took a lot of creative talent to compose. He insisted that it was like creating a symphony.
Google laywer Robert Van Nest said Sun’s leadership had supported Android, and that at the last minute Oracle decided against pursuing its own smartphone. He claimed Oracle only started suing after it failed to come up with a viable phone idea.
According to Reuters, the first thing the jury has to think about is copyright liability before moving on to hear evidence about patent infringement. US District Judge William Alsup must also decide on some of the questions of copyright.
Don’t expect the jury to come up with a speedy decision. The trial started three to four weeks ago and they are expected to take another month before they come up with a verdict. Whoever wins it is fairly likely that the other side will appeal.
The trial has required popcorn for those in the tech industry who watched it. Larry Ellison took the stand and was uncharacteristically flustered. When asked if he understood that no one owns the Java programming language and anyone can use it without royalty he was forced say he didn’t know.
Google CEO Larry Page did a little better by coming off calculated and reserved in his answers. Page said that Java was a platform and he called its boundries “blurry.”
Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz took the stand to defend Google. He said that if the Apache Software Foundation wished to release a product, even if it implemented Java APIs through Apache Harmony, it could do so without a licence – as long as it does not call it Java. The same applied to Google.
That stance ended up at odds with his former boss Scott McNealy who was called by Oracle. He said it was Sun’s practice to let other companies use Java, but only with a commercial licence, the primary requirement of which was that the licensee ensure that Java remain compatible. McNealy said that Ellison was a “hero” because he paid so much tax.