Oracle still suing Google; now with proof

Back in August, Oracle sued Google over alleged use of copyrighted java code in its Android operating system. After Google insisted that the suit was baseless, the case kind of fizzled out. Now, Oracle is revising their original suit to include line by line examples of patent infringement by Google, as shown by ZDnet.

Image Source: ZDnet

While the code is slightly different in places, Oracle believes that the comparisons exhibited are “nearly identical…on a line-for-line basis.”

Christopher Dawson, writing for ZDnet, believes that Oracle’s play on Google is not just about money. While Oracle’s monetization of Sun has a lot to do with filing suit on IP claims whenever possible, Dawson believes that Oracle really wants a piece of the mobile market. Considering the potential PR backlash that suing a company like Google entails, he believes that there is a broader tactical strategy behind the suit other than pure cash settlements. In fact, the Wall Street Journal is confused about the whole lawsuit in the first place. Why would Oracle go after Google, of all companies? There are plenty of smaller fish to fry in the wide world of Java development. This only furthers Dawson’s point that Oracle is looking to force Google into some kind of deal that latches them onto the back of the mobile computing revolution that Android is a big part of. 

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45 Comments

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i used to use some program to decompile java class files back into java source code. it was pretty easy to edit and recompile someone else's compiled java program... forgot what that program was called though. it was a command line app.

Why doesn't Google just buy Oracle then and end this court issue. I mean their buying all other companies why not Oracle

Sun Opensourced 99% of java. Oracle claims that the what Google using is covered in that 1%.

Reality Oracle wants to control java and Google's variant is out of Oracles influence.
This after Oracle wants to push it's special (non-open sourced) vision of java standard used for mobile devices which developers are not really using.

Interesting, though I don't really understand how Oracle could think that this would gain them involvement in the Android market (As the article suggests). That really makes absolutely no sense to me...

Could someone please enlighten me how Oracle can sue for copyright infringement, when the code in question is GPL licensed?

rtire said,
Could someone please enlighten me how Oracle can sue for copyright infringement, when the code in question is GPL licensed?

For the same reason that SCO (wrongly) thought they could sue over code derived from BSD UNIX.

It looks like a copy-paste job. Is Google arguing that it isn't a copy-paste job, or that their use of the code falls under fair use?

Shadrack said,
It looks like a copy-paste job. Is Google arguing that it isn't a copy-paste job, or that their use of the code falls under fair use?

They will have to argue fair use because anyone regardless of ability to understand code can see that there are way to many identical lines in there. Also seems unlikely that both Oracle and Google use the EXACT SAME naming conventions to the point of the class names being identical.

Shadrack said,
It looks like a copy-paste job. Is Google arguing that it isn't a copy-paste job, or that their use of the code falls under fair use?

they can plead guilty of copying public GPL code from Harmony Apache project

If you don't know what is GPL do a little research

NesTle said,

they can plead guilty of copying public GPL code from Harmony Apache project

If you don't know what is GPL do a little research

OMG, GPL? What is that thing? A type of fraternity or something? /sarcasm

From what I've researched: the very issue is "is this code GPL or not?" If Harmony Apache got it from Sun and Sun didn't license it to them in that way, yet Harmony Apache turns around and says it is under the GPL (but it isn't according to Sun/Oracle), then that can be a real problem

If I've learnt anything from this suing spree, nothing interesting ever comes of it. It's unlikely to affect the end-users, to be fair.

Its like saying you have copied Adding an Integer + 1 from everyone else who has done it . . . If thats the case I could sue half of the people on the planet then they would sue me back for Integer - 1.

ChuckFinley said,
Its like saying you have copied Adding an Integer + 1 from everyone else who has done it . . . If thats the case I could sue half of the people on the planet then they would sue me back for Integer - 1.

As a matter of fact... yes. The problem is good luck proving that the one single line of code was copied. That is why Oracle is showing a sequence of code that is nearly identical down to the naming of classes and variables as well as the logic behind it.

Its like saying you have copied Adding an Integer + 1 from everyone else who has done it . . . If thats the case I could sue half of the people on the planet then they would sue me back for Integer - 1.

Shades of SCO all over again. If it's released under the GPL, other companies really can use the code. Really.

Agreed, but that code falls under:


5 * This code is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
6 * under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 only, as
7 * published by the Free Software Foundation. Sun designates this
8 * particular file as subject to the "Classpath" exception as provided
9 * by Sun in the LICENSE file that accompanied this code.
10 *

Taken from http://www.docjar.com/html/api...th/PolicyNodeImpl.java.html

Is it their lawsuit that Google didn't include the GNU licence information in their comments of the .java file??!

The_Decryptor said,
Google's code is actually from the Apache Harmony project, Oracle have removed the licensing information from the snippets they submitted

http://android.git.kernel.org/...PolicyNodeImpl.java;hb=HEAD

So really, Oracle should be going after Apache, but then again Apache's version is just a re-implementation of Sun's already open sourced code, so Oracle would have a tough battle..


It can't be that simple. Oracle knows a thing or two about software IP, and they wouldn't pursue this if they weren't on pretty solid ground.

bj55555 said,

It can't be that simple. Oracle knows a thing or two about software IP, and they wouldn't pursue this if they weren't on pretty solid ground.

Well, SCO tried the same BS as well, and back in the 80s, the same kinds of issues came up with AT&T vs. Berkley.

The_Decryptor said,
Google's code is actually from the Apache Harmony project, Oracle have removed the licensing information from the snippets they submitted

http://android.git.kernel.org/...PolicyNodeImpl.java;hb=HEAD

So really, Oracle should be going after Apache, but then again Apache's version is just a re-implementation of Sun's already open sourced code, so Oracle would have a tough battle..

Heh, that isn't even code that runs on devices, this is just the unit testing code:

"support/src/test/java/org/apache/"

al1uk said,

Heh, that isn't even code that runs on devices, this is just the unit testing code:

"support/src/test/java/org/apache/"

Yeah, which is why it's so similar to the original Sun code, it's testing the same API in the same way.

You don't. I could file suit against you for any reason. Whether it actually proceeds to trial will be based on the merits of the case.

COKid said,
You don't. I could file suit against you for any reason. Whether it actually proceeds to trial will be based on the merits of the case.

+1

There are only a finite ways of implementing an idea in any language.
So there are going to be cases where it seems as if one company as "copied" another.
However, in this case, it does look almost identical. Even the namings and such.

This. I've worked with a lot of code and I can always tell code written by different people apart. Even when you're working to company coding guidelines, everyone code's slightly differently - it's no different to writing style and handwriting in that everyone's is different. The code samples in the article, to me, look like they've been copy-pasted and edited a bit.

WelshBluebird said,
There are only a finite ways of implementing an idea in any language.
So there are going to be cases where it seems as if one company as "copied" another.

I remember a similar argument trying to be made by students at university who were caught cheating on their programming assignments.

However, in this case, it does look almost identical. Even the namings and such.

Yup. Algorithms made to accomplish the same goal will have similar features. But programming is a language and everyone has their own style. When there is a list of variables all named exactly the same thing, that alone raises a red flag.

este said,
Agreed as well, but would Google really do something like this? (if its true, ofc)

Google purchased Android for pennies on the dollar basically and i'm sure left the project on its own "vices" for a while (even recently bragging about this) and now that may have bit them in the butt.

I wonder how many people know Google even purchased Android

blahism said,

Google purchased Android for pennies on the dollar basically and i'm sure left the project on its own "vices" for a while (even recently bragging about this) and now that may have bit them in the butt.

I wonder how many people know Google even purchased Android

This is going to blow over because Google makes $0 from Android. There is no direct moneymaker for Google. However, if oracle makes a good enough case, with lots more proof, Google would have to modify the code or take Android off the market, which both Oracle and Google would not want.

Recon415 said,
Software should not be patent-able.

This has nothing to do with patents, but copyrights (since they are claiming that the code was copied line for line).

Jebadiah said,
This is going to blow over because Google makes $0 from Android. There is no direct moneymaker for Google. However, if oracle makes a good enough case, with lots more proof, Google would have to modify the code or take Android off the market, which both Oracle and Google would not want.

Google makes a ton of money from android but they do it by copyrighting the applications that sit on the OS as a requirement to use android on a phone device. So instead of licensing the OS, you license the Google apps and Google marketplace. Many carriers spilled the beans that the ultimate price of WP7 android or any phone OS is the same and the cost of the os is the lesser costs of the phone.

WelshBluebird said,
However, in this case, it does look almost identical. Even the namings and such.

That's because they are implementing the same interfaces based on the specification. The variable names are similar because they are doing the same things. You also have to remember that's a tiny proportion of the function, and the declaration section to boot, in which many functions share similarities, especially if they follow the same standard/specification.

Flawed said,

It isn't in europe.

this is a common misconception.

Software is unfortunately patenable in Europe

However, you can't patent *all* software, like you can in the US. The software has to provide a real technical inovation.