Bruce Perens

Oracle v. Google Java Lawsuit - Rationale Becoming More Clear

2010-08-13 16:31:29 UTC

Oracle's Complaint is now online. It mentions a set of patents but doesn't discuss why Android would not be covered under Java patent grants previously made by Sun. However, I'm told that Android is indeed a subset of Java, and thus would not be covered by the grants, which insist that implementation meet a Java standard, be neither subset nor superset of Java functionality, and pass conformance tests.

Apparently, Android is  missing AWT and Swing, as Google created its own user-interface toolkit. So, Android would not conform with Java Standard Edition nor Java Micro Edition, which both require AWT. Google loses Sun's patent grant through non-compliance with its requirements to follow the Java standard.

Why would Google have made technical decisions that cost it Sun's patent grant? It would have been easy enough to keep it.

I guess they weren't worried about being sued by Sun. They did share a major stockholder (Andy Bechtolsheim) with Sun, but Google probably thought they had enough patents in their portfolio to force Sun to cross-license if necessary. Would Google also be able to force Oracle into a cross-license? I suspect so.

I think future Android handset implementers will want to see a patent agreement in place or they'll want to see Google comply with the terms of the patent grant.

Java on the web doesn't seem to have the problems that Google built into Android, its users can stay within the patent grant without trouble.


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