Oracle Lawsuit Charges Google With Infringing Java Patents And Copyrights

Google operating system Java

The lawsuit pits Oracle, one of Silicon Valley's long-time technology powerhouses, against Google, which has become one of the IT industry's major players in the last decade. The suit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Oracle acquired the Java technology and its related patents and copyrights in January when it bought Sun Microsystems for $7.3 billion. Sun first released Java in 1995 and the suit calls the Java platform "one of the most important technologies Oracle acquired with Sun," noting that it has attracted more than 6.5 million developers.

Java is used "in a wide range of computers, networks and devices," the suit notes, including Google Android, which debuted in late 2008 and today runs on millions of smartphones and other devices.

Oracle charges that Google has "actively and knowingly" violated seven Java patents, as well as copyrighted material related to the Java platform, according to the lawsuit.

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But there are questions about how enforceable some Java patents may be given that Sun decided several years ago to release key elements of Java code under an open-source license that allows others to freely use it, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury News.

The lawsuit doesn't specify the amount of damages Oracle is seeking. Google has not commented on the suit.