Oracle's First Big Move With Sun? Use Sun's Patents To Sue Google

from the real-companies-innovate,-not-litigate dept

Over the past few years, Sun has been one of the more outspoken companies against abusing the patent system, with former CEO Jonathan Schwartz explaining that real companies innovate, not litigate. However, Sun and its patents are now owned by Oracle, and apparently Larry Ellison feels otherwise. Oracle is now suing Google for patent infringement, using a bunch of patents that Sun owns around Java, claiming that Google's Android implementation of Java is done without a license. This is a bit surprising, really, as big Silicon Valley tech companies don't often get into patent battles with each other -- and, historically, when they do launch such patent attacks, it's usually a sign of something bigger being wrong with the company. Anyway, if you're interested, the patents in question are 6,125,447, 6,192,476, 5,966,702, 7,426,720, RE38,104, 6,910,205 and 6,061,520. And here's the filing:
Interesting to see super lawyer David Boies on this one. His career really has gone downhill, hasn't it? From once leading the government's antitrust case against Microsoft to representing SCO's ridiculous lawsuits and now being involved in yet another silly patent fight?

Either way it will be interesting to see Google's response. Unlike many big tech companies, Google hasn't warehoused patents at quite the same rate. The company certainly does regularly apply for and get patents, but if you watch the numbers, they're much lower than other tech companies, and I can't recall Google ever making a patent claim against another company. So it'll be interesting if Google responds with the standard response to a patent lawsuit between two big tech companies: which is to countersue over other patents, effectively launching the nuclear counterstrike. My guess is that the more likely response is that Google will eventually just pay off Oracle to make this lawsuit go away.

Filed Under: java, patents, sdk
Companies: google, oracle, sun

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  1. identicon
    Florian Mueller, 13 Aug 2010 @ 7:57am

    Oracle's action raises serious questions, also about certain organizations

    One thing I hope we'll find out soon is whether Oracle would have been willing to do a license deal with Google on reasonable terms or not. So far there's no indication that Oracle was constructive.

    This also raises serious questions about the Open Invention Network, given that one of its licensees now sues another over a Linux distribution although the OIN claims to protect Linux against patents, and the OpenForum Europe, an open standards lobby organization. I raised those issues (and some related ones) in this blog posting.

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