Oracle has filed a lawsuit against Google in San Francisco for violating a number of Oracle’s copyrights and patents in developing Android, a free mobile operating system (OS) by Google. In this lawsuit, Oracle is demanding about US$1 billion in compensation from Google. The court proceeding for this lawsuit is expected to last for about eight weeks. The first hearing of the lawsuit is likely to be attended by chief executive officers of both Google and Oracle as first witnesses.
Copyright issues related with Java
Oracle claims that Google has violated intellectual property rights pertaining to Java language in developing Android OS. Java, unveiled in 1995 by Sun Microsystems, allows software applications to run across a number of OSs. Java language is used by various software and business applications, such as Minecraft and video game on personal computers. Oracle took over Sun Microsystems in 2009, and thus inherited the intellectual properties associated with the applications developed by Sun Microsystems.
Oracle reasons that the use of its intellectual property and then making Android a freeware has done it a great financial damage. Such a move by Google snatched away Oracle’s opportunity to license Java to mobile phone developers. Though Android uses Java programming language, it is not completely compatible with this programming language. This incompatible division of Java language undermines its basic premise, “’write once, run anywhere”. This basic premise has been the key characteristics of Java for long.
Copyright issues related with APIs and other applications
Oracle has not filed this lawsuit only for the infringement of copyrights related to Java language. Oracle claims that Google has used its 37 application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs establishes a communication not only among various parts of a software application but also between one software application and another. About 103,400 lines of Oracle’s API specifications appear on the developer website of Android.
With the help of these APIs, software developers can write codes that are compatible with Java. Oracle has also held Google responsible for infringing patents relating to a method to generate executable code and a data processing enhancement. However, Google asserts that the technologies involved should not be protected by copyright law as intellectual properties.
What can a court ruling in favor of Oracle or Google mean
If Google wins this lawsuit, it will not need to pay US$1 billion to Oracle as compensation. In addition, it does need to alter Android or other applications developed for this mobile OS. A court ruling in favor of Google will fix it for good that the technologies involved in this lawsuit cannot be deemed as protected by copyright law.
If oracle wins the legal battle and APIs are deemed protected by copyright law, Google may have to make some alterations in Android. Altering Android will require recoding of all applications developed for this mobile OS. Almost all applications in Google’s Play might require recoding. A ruling in favor of Oracle means that nearly all applications, whether on iPhone, Mac OS, Android, Windows or any other operating systems, will require a re-release with a new licensing terms. It will also complicate the lives of software developers to a great extent, creating confusion and fear that use of any API may initiate a lawsuit.
About the author: Diana Maria is a blogger and a writer. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of gadgets. Recently an article on Sony Vaio Z series attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on DJ equipment.
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