Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Cellphones Handhelds Java Oracle The Courts Your Rights Online

Google Says 3rd Parties Would Be Liable For Java Infringement 236

Posted by timothy
from the that-guy-did-it dept.
angry tapir writes "Third parties, not Google, would be liable for any Java copyright violations in the Android mobile OS, according to a filing Google made in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Oracle sued Google in August over a number of alleged Java patent and copyright violations in Android."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Says 3rd Parties Would Be Liable For Java Infringement

Comments Filter:
  • But outside the US? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:41PM (#34202288) Homepage Journal

    I wonder how Oracle will go suing Android integrators in Korea, Taiwan and China?

    • I wonder how Oracle will go suing Android integrators in Korea, Taiwan and China?

      It helps to have "friends" in "high places."

    • I wonder how Oracle will go suing Android integrators in Korea, Taiwan and China?

      I'm sure they're big enough to have an overseas law firm rack up the billable hours. I wonder if they'll go after the US or European distributors of Android products? Or even the developers of Android apps?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by InFire (32320)

        Seems to be some confusion around here. There is a difference between the developers of Android (the OS) and the developers of Android applications.

        Even if there are proven to be patent problems with the Dalvik VM, an application developer is not distributing any part of the OS, only byte code which may or may not have been generated by a Java compiler and just happens to run in a Dalvik VM.

        Speaking as an Android app developer, I don't even program in Java. (And no, not the App Inventor or NDK either.)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:56PM (#34202422)

      Injunction against imports? Kind of like what they did when those LCD manufacturers in a certain Asian country got into trouble?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by williamhb (758070)

      I wonder how Oracle will go suing Android integrators in Korea, Taiwan and China?

      This filing doesn't mean that even Google think the defence will succeed.

      From the article:
      Overall, Google's answer takes an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, including seemingly contradictory defenses, such as that Android developers are in fact "licensed to use the Patents-in-Suit and the copyrights in the works that are the subject of the Asserted Copyrights."

      Sounds a little like "Uh oh! Quick! Everyone think up some kind of a defence for this! Maybe if we have enough, they'll negotiate and set

      • by icebike (68054) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:23PM (#34202636)

        Groklaw disagrees with your assessment.
        http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20101111114933605 [groklaw.net]

        • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @10:13PM (#34203234) Homepage
          I expect the average layman to be somewhat clueless, but this is Slashdot, so PLEASE people, get this through your head!

          If you don't want to do the research to verify that I am correct, at least read this part from Groklaw:

          ""Other than the Harmony libraries, the Android platform – including, without limitation, the Dalvik VM – was independently developed by the OHA," Google points out. The OHA is the Open Handset Alliance, which is 78 companies and entities, not just Google. "The Android Open Source Project (“AOSP”) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android, including incorporating code and submissions from the community of developers who contribute to Android and the tens of thousands of developers who create applications for Android." "

          I must have pointed out about 20 times here on Slashdot that Android is not Google's OS any more than Linux is a Red Hat OS. It is an OS produced by 78 different companies who are members of the Open Handset Alliance and also has numerous unaffiliated contributors.

          • by williamhb (758070)

            I must have pointed out about 20 times here on Slashdot that Android is not Google's OS any more than Linux is a Red Hat OS. It is an OS produced by 78 different companies who are members of the Open Handset Alliance and also has numerous unaffiliated contributors.

            I wouldn't be so sure about that until I'd seen OHA's articles of incorporation...

            From OHA press release: "Android and Open Handset Alliance are trademarks of Google Inc.

            From OHA Terms of Service:

            10. License from Google 10.1 Google gives you a personal, worldwide, royalty-free, non-assignable and non-exclusive license to use the software provided to you by Google as part of the Services as provided to you by Google (referred to as the "Software" below). This license is for the sole purpose of enabling you to use and enjoy the benefit of the Services as provided by Google, in the manner permitted by the Terms.

            If the software is in breach of copyright, then the big fat "provided by Google" "trademarks of Google" stickers all over everything might undermine a claim of "it wasn't us, guv, honest, it was those rascals over there in the Open Handset Alliance". Is the Open Handset Alliance even incorporated anywhere? If

            • by retchdog (1319261)

              On the other hand, maybe Jammie Thomas should be trying the defence of "it wasn't me, it was the Jamme-and-Daughter-Open-Source-Project wot did it"?

              As a purely intellectual exercise, would any lawyers like to comment on whether this crazy strategy could work? I've thought of doing it before. What and how many aspects of one's personal life could one codify into a charter of incorporation? Can you really shell game yourself? It'd be awesome!

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Zero__Kelvin (151819)
              You probably should have read the first few paragraphs:

              "1.2 Your use of products, software, services and websites in connection with the Open Handset Alliance website (referred to collectively as the "Services" in this document) is subject to the terms of a legal agreement between you and Google. "Google" means Google Inc., a Delaware corporation with principal place of business at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States. This document explains how the agreement is made up, and set

          • by kripkenstein (913150) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:00AM (#34204512) Homepage

            Android is not Google's OS any more than Linux is a Red Hat OS. It is an OS produced by 78 different companies who are members of the Open Handset Alliance and also has numerous unaffiliated contributors.

            Android is developed by Google behind closed doors. I am unsure of whether those other companies work with it behind those same closed doors, or not. But it's development is controlled by Google in a way very unlike Red Hat's development of Linux (or RHEL).

            You can take the released Android code and use it however you want. But practically speaking, Google still maintains a lot of control through the closed-doors development model. So it is fair to say Android is "Google's OS", but I would agree that that can be misunderstood to mean proprietary (which the released code most certainly is not), so maybe it's a bad choice of phrase.

            As I said before, I don't know if the other companies work with Google behind closed doors on the development - the development is behind closed doors, so we can't tell. But even if they do, it's still controlled by Google. For practical purposes, if you want to launch a device with Android, you need to partner with Google - only that way can you work on the latest code, and be aware of features in development, so your product when it finally launches will not use an outdated OS.

            Kudos to Google though for open sourcing it, when they do release it into the world. I am not saying Android is bad or anything. Just that it is controlled by Google. I'm a fan of Android myself.

            Regarding the story itself: Google is 100% right. Patents apply to 'specific machines', or should according to the law, so Google should be free to develop software free from worry from patent lawsuits. Hardware companies may need to enter patent agreements for their specific products. Google is arguing for a model of patents that makes a lot more sense than the one currently in practice in the US, and it happens to be the one that is on the books, so hopefully Google will prevail.

      • by russotto (537200) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @09:09PM (#34202884) Journal

        This filing doesn't mean that even Google think the defence will succeed.

        It's my understanding that if you want to preserve your rights to assert a defense, you have to assert it up front. This prevents dramatic Perry Mason-style maneuvers where you pull a new defense out of the hat near the end of the trial.

        But the predictable consequence of this rule is that lawyers will assert any and all possible defenses up front, so as to preserve their client's options.

        • by williamhb (758070)

          This filing doesn't mean that even Google think the defence will succeed.

          It's my understanding that if you want to preserve your rights to assert a defense, you have to assert it up front. This prevents dramatic Perry Mason-style maneuvers where you pull a new defense out of the hat near the end of the trial.

          But the predictable consequence of this rule is that lawyers will assert any and all possible defenses up front, so as to preserve their client's options.

          Aw, stop spoiling our speculation party with facts.

        • by TheLink (130905) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:23AM (#34204726) Journal
          Is it legal and viable for a lawyer to do stuff like:
          "My client never laid eyes on the victim of this horrible crime; but even if he did, he was not at the scene of the murder at the time of the killing; but even if he was, he's not the shooter; but even if he was, he was insane; and if he wasn't, then it was clearly self-defense."
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          Not quite. You have to enter evidence into the record during the discovery process - you can't jut pull out a new piece of evidence that proves you not guilty at the last second (unless you can convince the judge that you only just acquired it or there are some other extenuating circumstances). You don't have to provide your entire defence strategy up front. And, as the other poster said, you can enter contradictory defences.
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        say what?

        google pretty much just shot oracle in the face, and expects to fight the hell out of this and possibly invalidate patents on java.

        Google not only expects to succeed, but is fighting everything. [groklaw.net] It is oracle who expected a fast settlement and a win, not google.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      what makes you think they have to go after a country?

      they'd have to go after the entire open handset alliance, which spans probably 3/4 of the world.

      this is why it will never succeed.

  • by Giometrix (932993) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:47PM (#34202346) Homepage
    Microsoft promises to take legal responsibiliy in the case of patent lawsuits resulting from use of their platform. Interesting times we live in...
    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:58PM (#34202434)

      They also charge for that feature.
      I am sure for enough money google could do the same.

      • by Giometrix (932993)

        They also charge for that feature. I am sure for enough money google could do the same.

        I know... what's interesting is that it seems that either you pay upfront or in the rear; either way you pay.

        • I know... what's interesting is that it seems that either you pay upfront or in the rear; either way you pay.

          That's one reason why the GPL3 is so great: the license prohibits legal distribution if the users are vulnerable to patent attacks on the distributed software. It prevents this kind of racketeering right at the source.

          • Will it work if the users don't actually use a GPL licensed software, but an Apache licensed software - Android - with code (allegedly) copied from GPLed code?

            Harmony, used by Android, isn't an OpenJDK fork - it's a complete reimplementation, and if code was indeed copied, this is a GPL violation like any other.

            Nothing to do with patents.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by larry bagina (561269)

            Ahem,

            Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version.

            That doesn't do jack shit if you (google) distribute code that infringes on third party (oracle) patents.

      • by lucm (889690)

        > They also charge for that feature.
        > I am sure for enough money google could do the same.

        Can't argue with this. If Google did what Microsoft is doing, they would definitely not do the opposite.

      • by coolgeek (140561)

        There are two points though. Much as I am loathe to suggest an ms solution to anyone, at least the cost is predictable with them. The cost of using Android just went to unpredictable, and also, you get the nice feeling of being tossed under the bus by a business partner.

    • No, it's not. (Score:4, Informative)

      by schon (31600) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:50PM (#34202768)

      Microsoft promises to take legal responsibiliy in the case of patent lawsuits resulting from use of their platform

      What does that have to do with copyright claims?

      Answer: absolutely nothing.

  • by migla (1099771) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:48PM (#34202354)

    Mayber some of the following paragraphs from tfa would have fit in the summary:

    """
    "Any use in the Android Platform of any protected elements of the works that are the subject of the Asserted Copyrights was made by third parties without the knowledge of Google, and Google is not liable for such use," Google attorneys wrote in one of 20 defenses to Oracle's amended complaint.

    Another defense states that Android was "created independently and without reference to any works protected by the Asserted Copyrights."

    Elsewhere in the document, Google discusses the formation of the Open Handset Alliance, the coalition of vendors, including Google, that worked together to develop Android.

    The filing also notes that Android can be freely downloaded and developers are free to modify the source code to suit their needs.

    In addition, Google states that Oracle's patent claims should be denied under the doctrine of misuse. "Oracle has come to the Court with unclean hands due to its practice of requiring licensees of its purportedly open software to pay for licenses to items not covered by Oracle's alleged intellectual property in order to receive a license under Oracle's alleged intellectual property."
    """
    ?

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:59PM (#34202452)

      "Oracle has come to the Court with unclean hands due to its practice of requiring licensees of its purportedly open software to pay for licenses to items not covered by Oracle's alleged intellectual property in order to receive a license under Oracle's alleged intellectual property."

      A sentence only the deranged mind of a lawyer could love.

      • I don't know. I just read it, and *I* love it, truly. Started laughing out loud in fact.

      • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:32PM (#34202676)

        I had to read it a couple of times. I parse it as: "Oracle says that they have patents on some of the stuff that's used in open-source software. We're not saying they do, but we'll talk about that later. The thing is, because they say they have those patents, they want people to pay them for stuff that they don't even pretend to have patents on. That's bullshit. Therefore Oracle sucks."

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          No no no, it boils down to this:

          Oracle legitimately owns patent rights or copyrights to Object A.

          Oracle's licensing terms for Object A include a requirement to also license Object B, which nobody wants and Oracle doesn't own any legitimate rights to.

          It's like being required to purchase a copy of OSX from Microsoft in order to purchase a copy of Windows.

          • by IBitOBear (410965)

            Microsoft could indeed (re)sell you a copy of OSX if they possessed one...

            It's like Microsoft demanding you pay Microsoft a license fee for OSX in order for you to buy Windows, but in return for that license fee for OSX you get... nothing... Well you get a paper from Microsoft that says that as far as they are concerned it's okay if you get OSX by some other means and then use it. But since Microsoft doesn't have any stake in OSX that paper doesn't actually mean anything.

            Now if you replace the copyright/pat

      • by markjhood2003 (779923) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:45PM (#34202746)
        I believe this sentence is a reference to the Java TCK conformance test suites. Java is supposed to be open source, but you can't claim to have a conforming Java implementation unless you pass the various TCKs. But the TCKs themselves are not open source and you have to pay for a license to use it on your Java implementation. This has always been Sun's (and now Oracle's) big stick.
        • Yes this has been conventional wisdom. However, it looks as if Google may well use it to beat Oracle over the head with it, since it forces anyone using "open source" Java to pay Oracle, when they don't actually own the right to force developers to pay them for what is essentially open source software. That is an illegal extension of the technology that the patents cover, which only strictly pertain to just how similar to the JVM any VM has to be and be permitted to call itself Java. Google makes no pret

      • Yes, but one that a judge could love. Read: Oracle can not receive patent protection for technology that it does not own. The onus legally will be on Oracle to prove that the Dalvik VM is a copy of the Java JVM. That is not going to be easy to do given that they are bytecode incompatible and that simply translating Java into Dalvik bytecode is not a technology that Oracle owns.

        I see it is going to be very difficult for Oracle to prove that its JVM can generate bytecode that is able to run Dalvik bytecode

  • by Albanach (527650) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:49PM (#34202366) Homepage

    From TFA, Google filed 20 defenses taking an 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach. In other words, they listed every defense they could conceive of, so that Oracle has to defeat each individual defense. If one fails, Google will then rely upon the others.

    Furthermore, it's a strategic move - if the others were responsible, Oracle could find itself in the position of trying to sue either companies with much smaller bank balances like the Open handset Alliance or some 20 year old student. That's a lot less attractive than a bumper payday from Google.

    • by poena.dare (306891) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:17PM (#34202596)

      Yeah peeps need not get their knickers in a wad. PJ can explain things, as always:

      http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20101111114933605 [groklaw.net]

      I love this:

      "Wouldn't it be ironic if Oracle's patents ended up on the junk heap? Clearly that is Google's intention. I've been hoping for a settlement of this mess from day one. I smell that it is now a real possibility. You can take this amended answer two ways -- that it's Google angling for a better settlement or that it's Google looking to win the whole enchilada and free up Java for everyone."

      • The bully in the schoolyard tries to shake down another kid to take his lunch money. The other kid rolls up his sleeves and says f*#k off, you're going to have to take it by force. The bully then has a choice: Walk away embarrassed in front of all the other kids, or risk getting his ass handed to him?

        Kudos to Google for not rolling over like a lot of other companies would.

    • That's a lot less attractive than a bumper payday from Google.

      Or a patent cross-licensing deal which is what Oracle is really after. This makes this Google's best defense.

      Remember, there's somebody who can scale databases much better and faster than Oracle.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:55PM (#34202416)

    Here's what the article actually says:

    "Any use in the Android Platform of any protected elements of the works that are the subject of the Asserted Copyrights was made by third parties without the knowledge of Google, and Google is not liable for such use," Google attorneys wrote in one of 20 defenses to Oracle's amended complaint."

    That is, "we are not responsible for any violations added by the third parties". Well, duh.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:16PM (#34202580)

    Having a flow chart would clear up so many issues surrounding patents. Here is the question:

    What line of reasoning must hold water before a patent is deemed valid?

    If you read this story [groklaw.net], you realize that each party is asserting their position as the valid one. To me, the confusion surrounding this topic is hitting me hard. A flow chart would help out a lot.

    • by rossjudson (97786) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:43PM (#34202740) Homepage

      It's been widely reported that there's a duplicated file, and indeed it there is something close to that. BUT! One thing you'll find missing in Oracle's Exhibit "J" [groklaw.net] are the package headers at the top of the file. There's a good reason for that. On the Android side the file is in package org.apache.harmony.security.tests.support.cert, in directory support/src/test/java. You can see this in the git repository [kernel.org] for android. It's sitting in a directory of test support [kernel.org] classes.

      So the matching file that we have here is part of the test suite to ensure compliance with the interfaces. It is NOT part of the implementation itself. So the real question is, is it OK to have this kind of file sitting in the test branch, to ensure that the real implementation of it complies?

      The fact that the package headers have been removed and that this file is from the test suite can't be anything other than a deliberate attempt to deceive, well, someone. ;)

      It's rather unbelievable that with thousands of stories out there on this file nobody is talking about WHERE it fits into the android tree.

      • by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @09:00PM (#34202838) Homepage

        The headers haven't only be removed - which is a GPL violation by itself - there's a *new* header:

        /*
          * Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one or more
          * contributor license agreements. See the NOTICE file distributed with
          * this work for additional information regarding copyright ownership.
          * The ASF licenses this file to You under the Apache License, Version 2.0
          * (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with
          * the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at
          *
          * http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0 [apache.org]
          *
          * Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
          * distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
          * WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
          * See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
          * limitations under the License.
          */

        This is a blatant copyright violation, because you can't re-licence GPL code as Apache.

      • by IBitOBear (410965) on Friday November 12, 2010 @01:25AM (#34204192) Homepage Journal

        The objection is, to my understanding, that "Exhibit 'J'" doesn't consist of any of the actual source code at all. It's got nothing to do with the headers or locations. Exhibit "J" is a decompile. To that end it has all the expressive part stripped. It may be that both halves of the comparison are decompiled from their respective objects using the same tool.

        This would naturally strip the result of any indicators as to whether any code was copied because the _tool_ would pick the variable names, and the indenting style and so on.

        So consider two implementations of some function "int add_two_integers(int, int)".

        One guy goes in for the one-liner: "int add_two_integers(int l, int r) { return l+r; }"

        Another guy does the long haul: /* giant copyright notice */ /* motivation for writing code */
        int32 /*specific integer sizes selected to constrain results within 32 bits for sure */
        add_two_integers(int32 Left, int32 Right)
        {
            return (Left + Right); /*with comments and everything */
        }

        In no way did either party "copy" the other.

        But you compile both on a 32-bit platform, then decompile them both, and then say look, that second guy just stole the first guy's code.

        The outcome of the above would be different code were both compiled for, say, an amd64. The intent is clearly different. The amount of effort clearly different again. The actual act of copying isn't even in question when the source is examined.

        But cook it right and use decompiles and whatnot and you produce a misleading sense of similarity.

        So don't go looking at the files from the two distributions and how similar or different they are. The objection is to the particular details of an exhibit we don't have that has, according to Google, been produced or redacted or just plain old manipulated to remove the obvious dissimilarities in a way that Google thinks the court should see as dishonest or biased against a correct finding of fact.

  • Incomplete Story (Score:4, Informative)

    by gamerdonkey (1129337) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:29PM (#34202664) Homepage
    For actual coverage of Google's counterclaims, I suggest Groklaw: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20101111114933605 [groklaw.net]
  • Miss Sun yet? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h8sg8s (559966) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @09:06PM (#34202870)
    I read and re-read tfa and just coudn't see Sun *ever* doing this level of crap. Larry may be a "great capitalist" but he's a failure as a human being. Bad Larry! Baaad! (smacks Larry on head with rolled up newspaper)
  • the arrogant @$$hole in the polyester suit.

    It's a good thing we have choice in the market.

    Prediction: They're going to lose all their open source franchises
    as developers and customers walk out.

  • That's low! It should be on you!

    Besides, Java is just the input language - change it for Android 4.0 - change the input language to Basic, make a new compiler and change the virtual machine accordingly. Problem solved.

  • by nilbog (732352)

    So they're just throwing their partners under the bus? I bet that is going to make everyone want to build more Android phones.

  • Throw the makers to the lions.

Recursion is the root of computation since it trades description for time.

Working...