Oracle Claims Google Has Destroyed Java Market

Oracle’s lengthy fight against the Android operating system took another twist this week after it expanded its lawsuit against Google.

And the software giant accused Google of “destroying” the market for Java.

Expanded Complaint

Last month Oracle asked a US judge to update the lawsuit to take into account Android’s domination of the smartphone market.

US District Judge William Alsup warned at the time that the lawsuit would probably not proceed to another trial until the middle of 2016, and he ordered Oracle and Google to mediation on the matter.

That mediation has not worked and Oracle has now filed a supplemental complaint in a San Francisco district court. The complaint now includes the six Android versions that have arrived since Oracle originally filed its case way back in August 2010.

Those Android versions are Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Kit Kat and Lollipop.

“As with previous versions of Android, these six Android releases copy thousands of lines of source code from the Java platform, as well as the structure, sequence and organisation of that platform,” Oracle alleged in its complaint. “Just as before, this copying constitutes copyright infringement.”

“Since the filing of the Amended Complaint in late 2010, Android has experienced significant growth in the phone and tablet markets,” said Oracle.

Destroying Java

And Oracle then went to accuse Google of destroying the mobile market for Java.

“Android has achieved with its continued unauthorised use of the 37 Java API packages over the past few years, Android has now irreversibly destroyed Java’s fundamental value proposition as a potential mobile device operating system by breaking the “write once, run anywhere” principle on which Java was built,” Oracle said.

“Google’s increasing domination of the mobile device market with Android and its continuing failure and refusal to make Android compatible with the Java platform has destroyed the potential value of a licensed derivative version of the Java platform in the mobile device market.”

Oracle has long claimed that Google had infringed its patent and copyright when it used Java to develop the Android OS. Specifically, Oracle alleges that Android infringes a number of Java APIs. Oracle is seeking more than $1bn (£641m) in the case.

Google had asked the Supreme Court in October last year to overturn a ruling by the US Court of Appeals, which said Oracle could copyright parts of Java, contrary to an earlier decision by a San Francisco federal judge.

However, the Supreme Court denied Google’s request and sent the case back to San Francisco federal court for further proceedings. It upheld the appeals court’s ruling that allows Oracle to seek licensing fees for the use of some of the Java language. Google had argued that it should be able to use Java without paying a fee.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

View Comments

  • Oracle needs to shut up. Java has never been write once. At least since 1.42 every version has broken backward compatibility

  • The biggest threat to Java is Oracle itself!
    After that n the US copyright laws have a lot to answer for as well.

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