Google and Oracle have been battling in court for a while now and the case seems to get even messier. Oracle is accusing Google of using its code to build Android OS and this doesn’t fall under its fair usage policy. Google used Java API to make Android OS what it is but Oracle claims this infringes on its copyright.
The case has been in and out of court since 2012 and recent development shows that Google may eventually have to give out a chunk of it earnings from Android OS to Oracle. According to Arstechnica, earlier today in court, Oracle lawyer Peter Bicks said:
You don’t take people’s property without permission and use it for your own benefit. Google took a shortcut, and they took a shortcut at Oracle’s expense.
Java was developed by Sun Microsystems in 1991 but the company was later acquired by Oracle in 2010. Earlier in 2012, the case was thrown out of court when the presiding judge ruled that the Java API could not be copyrighted as claimed by Oracle and Google did not infringe on any copyright. The district court ruling was later reversed in 2014 by the Federal Circuit. Now, Oracle is seeking $8.8 billion in damages.
According to Oracle lawyer:
They copied 11,500 lines of code. It’s undisputed. They took the code, they copied it, and put it right into Android.
There were also evidences presented in court by Oracle that shows Google intentionally discarded the option of getting a licence from Oracle to use Java API and form a sort of partnership. A 2010 email sent by engineer Tim Lindholm to Android chief Andy Rubin shows clearly what Google should’ve done even before now. The email reads:
What we’ve actually been asked to do (by Larry and Sergei) is to investigate what technical alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome. We’ve been over a bunch of these and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java.
The evidence against Google seems very huge but we don’t know if this lawsuit will be in favor of Oracle. Google claims it used what was freely available to build Android OS and this include Java programming language and its APIs. So far, Google has made $42 billion in gross revenue from 2008 to 2015.