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Google and Oracle enter the courtroom

Trial begins in San Francisco
Mon Apr 16 2012, 13:13

SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google is set to face Java owner Oracle in court today, as the trial between the two companies begins in US District Court in San Francisco.

The lawsuit between the two firms has been going on for months, with Oracle claiming that Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) infringes copyrights and patents that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion in 2010.

"Oracle will prove at trial that Google deliberately chose to base its Android software platform on Java technology, seeking to develop and deploy Android rapidly and to capitalise on the large community of Java software developers," the enterprise IT vendor said in its complaint last year.

"Google's documents confirm Google knew it needed a licence to do so, and when it could not get one on the terms it wanted, [...] Google chose to take its chances and push forward with Java, helping itself to Oracle's intellectual property without a licence."

A Google spokesperson said to The INQUIRER, ""We're very confident in our defenses. The creators of Java made it free and open, and cheered the launch of Android. Oracle's claims not only go beyond copyright and patent law, but also threaten the entire Java community, software developers, and the goal of making systems work together smoothly."

The trial is expected to last around eight weeks. Oracle was seeking about $1 billion in damages, but that prospect has already been reduced considerably. Oracle recently refused an offer of $2.8 million plus 0.5 per cent of Android revenue from Google.

A loss for Google will be a blow to the Android OS, which is already tied up in lawsuits with other rival companies including Microsoft. However, it's also quite possible that Oracle will be fortunate to win enough to pay its attorneys' fees. µ


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