In August, Oracle filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming that its Android software infringes on patents and copyrights related to Java, patents acquired when Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems. And today, Google expanded on its initial comment that the Oracle lawsuit was "baseless," with a detailed response to the lawsuit's claims, and asking the U.S District Court to dismiss the suit.
Google's motion refutes Oracle's allegations, claiming it has not infringed on any Oracle IP. contains a "Factual Background" section, detailing the history of Java, its development, Sun's decision to open source part of it, and Oracle's voice among others encouraging the full open-sourcing of Java - right up to the point when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems.
Java: Open, But Not Really
The motion also details the procedures by which new Java implementations can be developed under a free-of-charge license. "The license," says the motion, "allows developers to create 'clean room' implementations of Sun's Java specifications. If those implementations demonstrate compatibility with the Java specification, then Sun would provide a license for any of its intellectual property needed to practice the specification, including patent rights and copyrights. One example of a 'clean room' implementation of Sun's Java is Apache Harmony, developed by the Apache Software Foundation. The only way to demonstrate compatibility with the Java specification is by meeting all of the requirements of Sun's Technology Compatibility Kit ('TCK') for a particular edition of Sun's Java. Importantly, however, TCKs were only available from Sun, initially not available as open source, were provided solely at Sun's discretion, and included several restrictions, such as additional licensing terms and fees. In essence, although developers were free to develop a competing Java virtual machine, they could not openly obtain an important component needed to freely benefit from Sun's purported open-sourcing of Java."
In other words, despite the gesture of open source, restrictions have been placed on Java's licensing, particularly in the mobile environment. As Google notes, many organizations, including Oracle, have long voiced concerns about these licensing restrictions, urging Sun to fully open-source Java.
The Rise of Mobile, The Rise of Mobile Lawsuits
Of course, Oracle v Google is far from being the only lawsuit in the mobile industry right now. As the graphic from the Guardian below demonstrates, the battle for control of the growing mobile market isn't just a matter of building the best product. In some cases, the strategy seems to include building a strong team of patent attorneys.