While Google Android smartphone sales may have passed the iPhone worldwide in the second quarter of 2010, it doesn’t take an Oracle to see that there’s trouble ahead for the company whose unofficial motto is “Do no evil.” The Wall Street Journal reports that Oracle Corp. has sued Google Inc. for patent and copyright infringement, claiming that the Android OS violates Oracle’s Java copyrights. The lawsuit pits Oracle CEO Larry Ellison against Google founder Eric Schmidt, a former Sun chief technology officer. Oracle acquired Sun, the company that invented the Java programming language, in January 2010. Today, Java is used in the Android smartphone as well as hundreds of other devices.
Oracle lawsuit seeks unspecified damages
According to the WSJ, the Oracle lawsuit seeks “unspecific damages and an injunction against ‘continued acts of infringement’ by Google.” Google has not officially responded to Oracle’s lawsuit yet, but it had been widely assumed that it was allowed to use free open-source Java licenses, as Sun traditionally authorized use of such licenses. However, no licensing deal between Oracle and Google had been officially announced. If an injunction against Google is granted by the presiding California court, developers would be barred from creating applications for Android OS and shipments of Android phones would come to a halt.
Protecting intellectual property
While Sun’s business practices centered on a healthy respect for open-source software and free exchange of ideas, Oracle “takes a lot more care in terms of protecting its IP, and Java is one of the crown jewels of the Sun acquisition,” tech analyst Ray Wang told the Journal. Perhaps it is as PC World suggests, that Oracle clings to IP because the U.S. government is on its tail over tax evasion. Whatever the case, the company that was once considered a rival to Microsoft – a position it has clearly lost to Google – is now looking for the court system to generate revenue.
“Trade the Trend” report on the Oracle-Google lawsuit