Oracle says Google knowingly 'broke the rules' with Java

Oracle and Google were in court Monday for the start of an eight-week jury trial over Google's use of Java in Android

Oracle and Google kicked off a high-stakes jury trial in San Francisco on Monday, with Oracle arguing that Google ran roughshod over its intellectual property rights because the search giant was scared of getting left behind in the mobile advertising business.

"This case is about Google's use, in Google's business, of somebody else's property without permission," said Michael Jacobs, an attorney for Oracle, in his opening remarks to the jury.

Oracle sued Google 18 months ago, arguing that its Android operating system infringes Java patents and copyrights that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems. Google denies any wrongdoing and says it doesn't need a license for the parts of Java it used.

Judge William Alsup, who is hearing the case, warned both sides on Monday that they'll need to show good cause for any evidence submitted at trial to be kept from the public, and that unflattering details about either side might emerge.

"Unless it's the recipe for Coca-Cola, it's going to be public," Alsup said. "If it reveals something embarrassing about the way one of these companies works, too bad. That's going to be out there for the public to see."

Most of the opening day was taken up with jury selection, but Jacobs had time to deliver Oracle's opening statement before the proceedings wrapped up. Google will give its opening statement Tuesday morning.

Jacobs cited several emails to and from Google executives that he said would show that Google knew it needed a license for Java and that, having failed to negotiate one, it developed Android with Java anyway.

Google's use of Oracle's intellectual property wasn't a mistake or the result of any confusion, Jacobs told the jury.

"The decision to use Oracle's intellectual property in Android was taken at the highest levels, with a lot of comprehension and awareness about what was going on," he said.

Google made most of its money from desktop advertising, he said, and the popularity of smartphones made Google realize around 2005 that it needed a mobile software platform to stay competitive.

Google had to develop Android quickly, and it had to attract developers to be successful, he said. "How did they meet those requirements? The answer is with components of Java."

Other companies such as eBay, Cisco Systems and General Electric bought licenses to use Java, but Google "broke the basic set of rules governing the Java community," Jacobs said.

Some big Silicon Valley names are expected to be called to testify in the trial. Oracle's witness list includes its CEO, Larry Ellison, Google CEO Larry Page, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and former Sun CEOs Scott McNealy and Jonathan Schwartz.

Before jury selection took place Monday, Alsup had to settle some last-minute disputes between the two sides.

Google thought it would be unfair if Oracle were allowed to tell the jury it paid $7.4 billion to buy Sun, because it might inflate the value of Java in the minds of the jurors.

"They've been dying to throw that number around," Robert Van Nest, an attorney for Google, told the judge.

Alsup ruled against him but nevertheless cautioned Oracle to be careful how it used such figures. "The idea that you can throw big numbers around in front of the jury and somehow jack up the damages award if there is one ... that's not going to be allowed," Alsup said.

The trial will be held in three phases: first to hear the copyright claims, then the patent claims, and then any damages Oracle might be awarded. Oracle is seeking about $1 billion in damages and an injunction to block Google from shipping any infringing code.

The lawsuit is seen by many as a test case for whether software APIs (application programming interfaces) can be subject to copyright.

The trial resumes at 8 a.m. Pacific Time Tuesday morning. It's being held at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?