SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A Google executive who oversees Android development admitted on the stand Monday that he thought the company needed a license to develop the popular smartphone with Java.
Oracle hopes similar testimony will score a verdict that the Android infringes 37 Java application programming interfaces (APIs), and that Google should have licensed the technology.
Oracle attorney David Boies pointed to a March 2006 email in which Android chief Andy Rubin wrote that he believed a package of APIs known as java.lang are copyrighted.
"You mean copyrighted by Sun," Boies asked.
"I didn't exactly say that," Rubin responded.
In another email, Rubin suggests to Google CEO Larry Page that "we take a license that specifically grants the right for us to Open Source our product. We'll pay Sun for the license and the TCK (technology compatibility kit)."
Rubin explained Monday: "Those were the options at the time."
The Google executive will take the witness stand again Tuesday morning, and Google's attorneys are expected to call him after Oracle rests, which may be as early as Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier in the hearing Monday, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup asked Google's lawyers if they were ready to admit that the company copied the 37 APIs.
But the company would not budge from its stance that Oracle does not have a claim to their source code.
"I quibble with the word 'copy,'" Google attorney Bruce Baber said. "APIs have been out a long time, in books, on the web and available in Harmony." Apache Harmony is an open-source, free Java implementation.
"We absolutely used and included them in Android so we would have them exactly right," Baber continued, affirming Google's position that all aspects of Java are free to use.
Alsup told both teams he could not understand why they wanted him to instruct the jury that the 37 APIs are a whole, copyrightable work.
"I'm turning over in my mind how we deal with the work as a whole issue," Alsup said. "That's not what the evidence is."
Testimony in front of the jury began Monday with former Google executive Bob Lee, who was the core library lead for Android.
Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs questioned Lee about documents relating to Java and Android, and Lee hedged a definitive answer on whether those documents said the same thing with some wording changed.
"Similarities - paraphrasing - these terms are a contract," said Lee, who now works as chief technical officer at the tech company Square. "They are very specific rules, and there are only so many ways you can phrase them."
Lee was more forthcoming about the tight control Sun Microsystems had over Java in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before Oracle bought the company in 2010.
"Everyone believed that Sun was abusing their position in the JCP, including Google and Oracle," Lee said, referring to the Java Community Process, an alliance of software developers and companies dedicated to keeping Java open-source.
"JCP was marketed to be an open-standards organization," Lee continued. "When Apache Harmony developed a Java SE, Sun balked and refused to give it the Java trademark. And Apache Harmony never adopted the license that Sun offered with a field of use restriction."