Google, Oracle Trial Winding DownBy: Mike Fossum - April 30, 2012
The trial of Oracle’s lawsuit against Google, who is suing over patent infringement regarding the use of Java in the building the Android OS, finally commenced roughly two weeks ago – 18 months after Oracle’s initial complaint – and now the closing arguments of the first phase of the court proceedings were winding down this morning, with Oracle asserting that Google has been plainly making excuses about illegally manipulating Java APIs during the development of the Android OS.
Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs stated in the U.S. District Court, “this is a trial between large companies over really important business issues, and sometimes the numbers involved have been staggering – You will see email after email in which Google executives knew this day would come.” It’s not clear if Jacobs was referring to a staggering number of emails, actual copyright violations committed, or if he was speaking of the real issue – the potential of a billion dollars in fines Google might have to fork over.
Oracle has always contended that the Java APIs used by Google are so intricate that they could be considered to be a protected creative work. Jacobs somewhat dramatically described said Java APIs as being akin to a musical composition, – “It’s magical. It’s like painting.” Google has always said that none of this mattered, as Java falls under fair use, and has claimed that the lawsuit was an attack on open-source Java content from the start. Jacobs asserted that Google has been using this sort of thing as a cop out, and was well-aware that their manipulation of Java might’ve gone beyond what open-source was intended for – which seems to go along with reports of Google CEO Larry Page’s demeanor as he’d taken the stand. Page remained elusive when asked about any company emails concerning the APIs, plainly stated that he “didn’t remember.”
Earlier speculation that Oracle might demand that Google change the Android code altogether were far-fetched – the company wants Android to get a license for Java, and to admit they essentially stole the APIs, since they were aware a license would be required in the first place. It would appear Google might’ve taken a gamble, lost, and now might have to plainly pay for what it would’ve had to pay for in the first place, sans any court proceedings. Android exec Andy Rubin even testified that Google wanted Sun (the developer of Java before Oracle took over) to “throw away their standard license,” and “develop a new license that was specifically what we’re looking for.” Then Rubin turned around and stated that Google didn’t think they needed a license.
Presiding Judge William Alsup predicts the jury might be back within the next couple of days. This will be interesting – If Google loses, the trial will eventually progress to the stage where fines are handed out. The number could be outrageous.