Oracle Wants Billions From Google In Java Lawsuit


Oracle's lawyers are seeking damages "in the billions of dollars" from Google in its patent and copyright infringement lawsuit over Java in Android, according to a Thursday court filing that was first brought to light by Reuters.

Google says that figure is outlandish and inaccurate. "Oracle's 'methodology' for calculating damages is based on fundamental legal errors and improperly inflates their estimates," a Google spokesperson said Friday in an email.

Oracle sued Google last August, claiming that Android violates Java patents and copyrights, but until yesterday the amount of damages Oracle is seeking hadn't been made public. And it's apparently about to get even juicier. According to Reuters, San Francisco U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who's handling the case, has denied Google's attempt to mask case information that will outline exactly how much Oracle is seeking.

Oracle claims Google "actively and knowingly" violated seven Java patents, as well as copyrighted material related to the Java platform, in its implementation of Android. Google subsequently denied any infringement and asked the court to declare Oracle's patents invalid and unenforceable.

Google argued that Sun released the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) specifications in a way that allowed developers to build their own implementations, and that Google developed its own JVM known as the "Dalvik VM." However, Sun never released the Java test compatibility kit under an open-source license as it did with many other Java components.

The case is being closely followed by many in the IT industry due to its potentially wide-ranging ramifications for the mobile industry and open-source software. After Oracle filed its lawsuit, Google called out Oracle for claiming it would carry the open-source torch after acquiring Sun and then demonstrating it had no intention of actually doing do.

Oracle acquired the Java technology and its related patents and copyrights in January when it bought Sun Microsystems for $7.3 billion.