The recent ruling in the Oracle versus Google war over software patents and copyright infringement related to Java has made Android fans happy. According to the jury ruling the U.S. District Court of Northern California, ‘none of the eight remaining claims in the two remaining patents was infringed by Google in Android as Oracle had alleged.’
This brings the initially envisaged damages (that Google would have paid to Oracle) of $6 billion down to $32 million, at the most (according to Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of Android. It will not be able to bring patent suits against Android anymore. The fear of paying royalty to Oracle for the use of Android no longer holds. Manufacturers and vendors will not have to pay extra dollars to Oracle for Android. And there will be no ban or obstruction in the flow of Android products or value.). While that in itself is a big deal, the most critical deliverance for Google here is that Oracle will not have a stronghold on
This is great news for Android development and distribution. Open-source innovation is safe for now.
Some more about the case. Interestingly, after the verdict and dismissal of the jurors, Judge William Alsup said he would decide on the related application programming interface (API) copyright issue next week. Again, the chances of a decision in favor of Oracle are very remote. In fact, going by what the Judge said, it’s safe to assume it won’t happen. He said that he had learned how to write enough code to believe that ‘anyone could have written those nine lines of code’ that Oracle’s trying to make a big deal about. Alsup actually asked Oracle counsel David Boies, ‘The idea that somebody copied that in order to get to market faster when it would be just as fast to write it – it was an accident that it got in there. You’re one of the best lawyers in America. How could you even make that argument?’
So, is this the end? No way. Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison isn’t known for easy surrenders. Oracle will appeal. However, the power behind the claim is now kaput.
Oracle has been a sour topic for open-source developers ever since it took over management of Sun’s Java. Java has lost popularity in recent years though Oracle is pushing to revive it. The Oracle-Google lawsuit has done nothing to mitigate fears that Oracle wants complete control and that its support for open-source program development is hogwash.
For now, Google has the upper hand. As Android app developers, we celebrate their success.
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