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Oracle Seeks $8.8 Billion in Damages from Google after Appeal

| by Kesha Williams Follow 4 Followers on Apr 30, 2018. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Oracle says Google's use of Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) was not fair. Google says it was. The court battle between the two tech giants started back in 2010, and after ongoing trials and appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals reached a decision. Google's use of Java in Android wasn't fair use. Google could owe Oracle billions. The battle is not over though; it may reach the Supreme Court.

Several twists and turns occurred during the eight-year battle between Oracle and Google:

  • 2010 – Oracle sues Google, claiming that Android infringes on two patents held by Oracle on its Java software.
  • 2012 – A judge ruled that Google had not infringed on the Java patents and that the APIs didn't deserve protection under copyright law. Oracle appeals this decision.
  • 2014 – An appeals court rules in favor of Oracle and overturns the 2012 ruling.
  • 2016 – A second jury trial determines that Google's use of Java in Android was fair. Oracle again appeals the decision.
  • 2018 – An appeals court rules in favor of Oracle and overturns the 2016 ruling.

Google was disappointed to hear that the appellate court ruled its use of open-source Java went too far when building the Android platform and violated Oracle's copyrights. Google spokesman, Patrick Lenihan, said in a statement:

We are disappointed the court reversed the jury finding that Java is open and free for everyone. We are considering our options.

One option Google may consider is taking the case to the Supreme Court, again. The Supreme Court has so far refused to review the case, but it might no longer be able to do so. Dorian Daley, Oracle general counsel, said:

The recent decision protects creators and consumers from the unlawful abuse of their rights.

Speaking on the matter, Sun Microsystems co-founder, Scott McNealy, said:

[Java] is the foundation upon which our digital world is built. Google stole that foundation, used it to build Android, and destroyed Oracle's market in the process.

Oracle is seeking $8.8 billion, but that amount could grow. A separate court will determine the amount Google owes Oracle in damages.

Android is currently free of charge, but the lingering nature of this case has developers wondering what the long-term impact will be on the Android platform. Google spokesman, Patrick Lenihan, said:

This type of ruling will make apps and online services more expensive for users.

This could also directly affect any company that has monetized the Android platform, which includes software developers. The end result of the legal battle could change how companies approach software development. In a world where companies rely on open-source software to develop their platforms, new license fees may come into play. Companies may even decide to forgo the use of open-source software and develop their own from scratch. This lawsuit is huge in terms of precedents and could have a long-term effect on the speed of innovation in software.

InfoQ plans to keep a close eye on the case. Readers can also keep up to date with all Java-related news by visiting the InfoQ Java homepage.

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That's VERY unlikely by Shai Almog

Here's why:

  • Google and Sun had discussions about licensing around the 100M USD price range. It's hard to claim that Google should pay more

  • Google argues that the loss of income is unrelated to Google and is related to stagnation at Sun/Oracle. They would be right

  • Google adopted Open JDK for newer version of Android which Oracle explicitly stated would mean that they comply with the GPL license hence no longer in violation. So this is purely for old posts...


Besides that the judge consistently ruled in favor of Google. Oracle could appeal a ruling again (appeals sided with them) but it would be an uphill battle for them.

Re: That's VERY unlikely by Kesha Williams

At this point, a separate court trial will determine the amount Google owes Oracle in damages based on the latest ruling in favor of Oracle. There have been several twists and turns in this long-running battle. We are looking to see if Google will petition the Supreme Court again and if the Supreme Court will hear the case this time around. We are keeping a close eye on this and will report updates as we learn them.

Google ofevilness by xiaofeng liu

To make the android cost surfaced and measured fairly

Re: That's VERY unlikely by Cameron Purdy

Google and Sun had discussions about licensing around the 100M USD price range. It's hard to claim that Google should pay more


Yes, Google probably could have licensed Java from Sun for $100m plus some small percentage, had they licensed it up front. However, this case is about a lot more than just Google, and it turns out that that is Google's own fault: By licensing Android under more open terms than Oracle licensed Java, Google assumed responsibility for not only their own licensing cost, but that of the entire industry, because Google made it arguably impossible for Oracle to subsequently license Java to any other company, because a competitor had placed a "free" (even if stolen) option into the market. Furthermore, this behavior opens up Google to fairly severe (3x) punitive damages.

IANAL etc.

While I hope Java and Android (technologies) both continue to do well, I'm not rooting for Oracle, and I'm not rooting for Google. Regardless of which of these corporations win or lose, the rest of us are all screwed by this case. Mark my words.

Google argues that the loss of income is unrelated to Google and is related to stagnation at Sun/Oracle. They would be right


In this case, it doesn't matter whether they're right that Sun's business was "stagnating". They took something that wasn't theirs, and that is wrong. You can't legally steal from a helpless frail person (Sun) any more than you can steal from a rich and powerful curmudgeon (Oracle).

Seriously, WTF?!? Stealing is stealing. Google was wrong. You can't make excuses for stealing based on the fact that the company that you're stealing from was poorly run.

Also, just to reiterate what I've said previously, just because Google is in the wrong does not put Oracle in the right. Oracle should start spending their energy and dollars on innovation and serving their customers. Regarding this case, Oracle should be using their new-found leverage over Google to do something that helps drive the adoption, the cross-platform compatibility, and the long term vitality of Java, not just to take money from one giant corporation's coffers to put it into another giant corporation's coffers.

Peace,

Cameron.

Re: That's VERY unlikely by Shai Almog

I didn't make an excuse for stealing. I say the original judgement that Google didn't steal was correct. The only piece of actual code taken was method declaration code which could have been generated with docavaj. Alsup (the judge) correctly saw that. It's irrelevant due to the last ruling though so this is a discussion of damages which is probably unavoidable.

I posted that because of the title claiming "billions". When businesses sue other businesses (don't confuse individuals where you can add more emotional aspects) claims mostly cover damages, lost income & costs incurred. Even with 3x payment that would reach 300m. Reaching a billion $ on a platform that didn't see an update since 2004 (J2ME) would be a stretch.

Regardless I agree that we are screwed by this as Java developers.
Since we both worked for Oracle we both know Oracle won't use a single cent on promoting Java regardless of the amount it gets or doesn't get.

Re: That's VERY unlikely by Cameron Purdy

Since we both worked for Oracle we both know Oracle won't use a single cent on promoting Java regardless of the amount it gets or doesn't get.


Agreed. In fact, the second the check clears, I expect another blood-bath in engineering.

There has never, in the history of the tech industry, been another company so deserving of being acquired by CA.

Oracle is evil by Cheung Peter

Oracle is evil

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