Patents

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
java, patents, sdk

Companies:
google, oracle, sun



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.

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  1. identicon
    Richard Corsale, 13 Aug 2010 @ 11:19am

    What are they thinking?

    Oracle had a fight on their hands, just to bring Java back from the brink of obsolescence. I've been working with Java since it was OAK. I can tell you, it's fallen behind in recent years and that's mostly due to bureaucracy and backwards compatibility issues. However, lack of openness probably hurt it the most. Oracle was the chief opponent to Sun's veto power in the Java Community Process. Oracle used to whine about the patent problem, that Sun held patents and they could just sue anyone if they wanted to. Also they kvetched about how Sun hadn't given the Apache Licensed Harmony project approval. So THIS is what Oracle dose the second they got the reigns??? What a pity, Java will certainly suffer further reputive harm by this action. Reforming the "Java Sucks" popular image (perpetuated by the ignorant), was a battle in it's self. Google was a key ally in that fight. It was GOOGLE that's kept Java relevant to the startup, definitely not the software. What a bone headed move Oracle.

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