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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Tech Giants Primed for Android-Java Trial

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Google claimed that "rickety legs" support a lawsuit alleging its Android phone exploits patented Java programming, while Oracle called its evidence against Google "overwhelming," as the companies prepare for trial.

Google attorney Robert Van Nest said he will prove at trial that Google either did not infringe on any of the Java patents or that the patents are invalid. He also argued that Java-language application programming interfaces, the subject of Oracle's copyright claims, are "purely functional mechanisms" that are "not copyrightable as a matter of law."

The Google brief also rejects the claim that it directly copied a "handful of small portions of trivial code and comments." Only nine lines of allegedly copied code was enabled on Android devices, Van Nest wrote, and those lines have either been already removed or disabled, or they will be for the next release of Android software.

Van Nest also noted that Sun Microsystems, which developed Java until it was acquired by Oracle, never accused Android of infringing on its rights and publicly praised Android on numerous occasions. In fact Oracle itself praised Android when it acquired Sun Microsystems and only threatened litigation, in what Van Nest calls "Plan B," when it realized it "lacked the engineering skill to build its own Java phone."

The Google attorney also blasted Oracle's damages report, saying that economics professor Iain Cockburn "inflates his opinions about the supposed value of the infringing features with a flawed econometric model and a rigged consumer study that assumed the conclusions that Cockburn wished to draw."

If Oracle is entitled to damages, Van Nest, a partner with Keker & Van Nest in San Francisco, says the amount is closer to $50 million as opposed to the $28 billion Cockburn estimated.

Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs stated in his trial brief that Google helped itself to Oracle's intellectual property without a license and that Oracle will prove at trial that Google's software platform infringes Oracle's copyrights to Java and six patents.

Jacobs called the evidence of Google's copyright infringement "overwhelming," claiming that the 37 programming interfaces that Google copied are "a substantial and vital chunk of Java's core libraries."

The Oracle attorney also accused Google of copying proprietary Java source code, object code and comments in 12 software files.

Oracle says the court already rejected Google's primary argument that the application programming interfaces are methods of operation and "Google does not contest that software code is copyrightable. A finding of infringement inevitably follows from a determination that the works are protected by copyright, because this is not a case where Google denies access or copying."

Jacobs, an attorney at Morrison & Foerster in Palo Alto, called the evidence that Google infringed its patents equally strong and its actions willful. Google chose to model Android on key Java features and it adopted many of the same technical solutions when it faced similar technical problems to those experienced by Oracle, according to the brief. Some of those solutions are also the subject of the alleged six-Java related patents.

Google engineers also made specific mention of Android features covered by the patents in blog postings and public presentations, often in language that directly tracked the patent claims, Oracle noted.

As to Google's claims that Android is losing money, Jacobs argued that the phone is "wildly successful," with 550,000 new Android devices activated daily. Jacobs claimed that Google's success has come at Oracle's expense. Google should have to pay to license Oracle's intellectual property, but the company undermined Oracle's ability to license Java to wireless device manufacturers by giving Android away for free, according to Oracle.

Google and Oracle also submitted proposed jury instructions and discussed disputes relating to part of the instructions in separate briefs filed with the court. The jury trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 31.

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