Google hits back at Oracle, claims it ‘ignores’ open source community

6 Oct 2010

Google has responded to Oracle’s lawsuit that claims Oracle’s patents are infringed by Google’s use of Java in the Android platform.

Oracle is taking Google to court, claiming that the search giant used the Sun Microsystems-developed Java in the Android operating system, ignoring several patents in doing so.

Google filed a response to the lawsuit against it, saying that it denies it has infringed any of Oracle’s patents and states these patents are invalid or unenforceable for numerous reasons.

Google uses a subset of the Apache Harmony Java implementation in Android. However, Oracle keeps portions of Sun’s open-sourced Java closed, making developers use Sun’s Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) in order for them to get a license to use Java Standard Edition.

Oracle and Apache had been arguing about the licence for Java for many years and the only licence Sun ever offered Apache for the Java TCK included significant “field of use” restrictions, including mobile phone restrictions.

As a result, Apache has never taken a Java TCK licence to test Harmony. Oracle used to support Apache’s argument, but it changed once it acquired Sun.

Google is arguing that this is unfair and that Oracle has “ignored the open source community’s requests to fully open source the Java platform.”

While Google’s open-source argument makes a case against corporate control over new technologies, Oracle responded, saying not only did Google knowingly infringe on their patents in using it, but that it also harms the industry.

“In developing Android, Google chose to use Java code without obtaining a licence,” Oracle said in response to Google’s counter argument.

“Additionally, it modified the technology so it is not compliant with Java’s central design principle to ‘write once and run anywhere.’

“Google’s infringement and fragmentation of Java code not only damages Oracle, it clearly harms consumers, developers and device manufacturers,” said Oracle’s statement.

Whatever the outcome, Java on mobile is likely to change once this lawsuit is settled.