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Oracle wins key reversal in Java copyright case against Google's Android

post #1 of 170
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After seeing the majority of its Java infringement claims against Android essentially set aside in 2012, Oracle has now won an important reversal on appeal that will allow it to pursue its $1 billion case against Google and potentially an injunction against Android as infringing its Java intellectual property.

Google Android Dalvik


According to a report by Reuters, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington issued a ruling today that reversed an earlier decision that prohibited Oracle from claiming copyright for portions of its Java platform used by Google in Android.

Google had argued in the original trial that Oracle's Java wasn't protected by copyright for a number of reasons, including the ideas that the code isn't purely a creative expression; that it used short phrasing and that Google borrowed Java API code in order to maintain interoperability with Java. The initial court agreed.

Last December, Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents drew early attention to two reports indicating that the court would likely reverse the original ruling by District Judge William Alsup.

Appeals court finds previous decision favoring Android "erroneous"



Google's original win has now been essentially overturned in its entirety. As the appeals court explained, "Oracle asserts that all of the trial court's conclusions regarding copyrightability are erroneous.

"Oracle argues that its Java API packages are entitled to protection under the Copyright Act because they are expressive and could have been written and organized in any number of ways to achieve the same functions.

"Specifically, Oracle argues that the district court erred when it: (1) concluded that each line of declaring code is uncopyrightable because the idea and expression have merged; (2) found the declaring code uncopyrightable because it employs short phrases; (3) found all aspects of the SSO devoid of protection as a 'method of operation' under 17 U.S.C. ? 102(b); and (4) invoked Google's 'interoperability' concerns in the copyrightability analysis. For the reasons explained below, we agree with Oracle on each point."

Oracle can now sue over "unfair use"



In particular, the appeals court noted, "given the record evidence that Google designed Android so that it would not be compatible with the Java platform, or the JVM specifically, we find Google's interoperability argument confusing."

It added, "The compatibility Google sought to foster was not with Oracle's Java platform or with the JVM central to that platform. Instead, Google wanted to capitalize on the fact that software developers were already trained and experienced in using the Java API packages at issue.""The Federal Circuit's opinion is a win for Oracle and the entire software industry that relies on copyright protection to fuel innovation and ensure that developers are rewarded for their breakthroughs" -Oracle

Following the ruling, Oracle issued a statement to the media saying, "We are extremely pleased that the Federal Circuit denied Google's attempt to drastically limit copyright protection for computer code. The Federal Circuit's opinion is a win for Oracle and the entire software industry that relies on copyright protection to fuel innovation and ensure that developers are rewarded for their breakthroughs. We are confident that the district court will appropriately apply the fair use doctrine on remand, which is not intended to protect naked commercial exploitation of copyrighted material."

In August, Oracle's chief executive Larry Ellison stated, "When you write a program for the Android phone, you use the Oracle Java tools for everything. And then at the very end, you press a button and say, 'Convert this to Android format.' We don't compete with Google. We don't do anything Google does. We just think they took our stuff, and that was wrong."

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs held a similar view on Android, declaring it a "stolen product" in interviews with biographer Walter Isaacson. Jobs and Ellison were close, with Ellison referred to Jobs as his "best friend for 25 years."

Origins of Android in Sun's Java Mobile



Google acquired Andy Rubin's Android startup in 2005, at a time when the small company was working on a Java Mobile device as a sequel to Danger, a similar Java Mobile product that also licensed its use of Java software from Sun.

Andy Rubin


Google originally sought to develop Android as a Java Mobile button-phone platform similar to BlackBerry or Windows Mobile, but was blindsided by Apple's release of iPhone in 2007.

The search giant then shifted gears to develop a more powerful device pattered directly on the far more ambitious and sophisticated features and functionality Apple had delivered. A key part of that strategy involved appropriating the value of Java Mobile, then owned by Sun, to create a replacement that used the same language and API construction to leverage developers' existing familiarity with Java Mobile, then the dominant mobile platform.

After Apple's iPhone rapidly conquered the existing smartphone businesses of BlackBerry, Nokia, Palm and Windows Mobile in its first three years, a variety of hardware makers and carriers jumped to support Android as the last remaining alternative.

Android Java button phone


Google's free distribution of its modified version of Java Mobile rapidly replaced Sun's own software as the platform for low end mobile devices. After Oracle acquired Sun in 2010, it filed a lawsuit against Google involving copyright infringement of Java by Android.

Oracle sought both damages against Google and a legal injunction on its distribution, describing Google's Android as an "incompatible clone of Java."

During the trial, it was revealed that Rubin had written a memo stating, "If Sun doesn't want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language - or - 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way."

Another internal Google document similarly stated, "What we've actually been asked to do (by [Google founders] Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin]) 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 under the terms we need."

This all happened before



Thirty years ago in 1983, Apple laid important legal groundwork for arguing copyright claims over software in its case against clone builder Franklin Computer.

Just one year after IBM entered the nascent personal computer market with Microsoft in 1982, Apple sued to stop Franklin from cloning its well established Apple II, calling into question whether operating system software could be protected under copyright as a creative expression, rather than simply being a process or an idea, things that copyright does not protect.

Apple vs Franklin


Franklin argued that Apple's code wasn't worthy of protection. Franklin also maintained that there were no real alternatives in developing non-infringing code and argued that the court should allow it to infringe upon Apple's work because it was not a large threat to Apple and would otherwise go out of business, arguments that sound very similar to Google's modern-day defense of Android.

After losing its initial bid for a preliminary injunction against Franklin, Apple successfully argued to an appeals court that software was a protected "literary work," and also presented evidence that software compatibility could be achieved by Franklin without infringement of Apple's copyright. It further presented evidence that Franklin simply stole its ROM code, finding unchanged references to "Applesoft" within Franklin's infringing systems.
post #2 of 170
Goog doesn't make much money from Android ... but it seems like they could lose some.
post #3 of 170

Good. Google shouldn't be allowed to get away with stealing and using other people's IP.

post #4 of 170

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

 

Told you.

 

“Who?”

You, I dunno.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #5 of 170

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa!

 

And this is a wonderful indication of what can happen when cases are appealed. Hopefully is a bellwether for the Apple-Samsung trials. I'd love to see Apple's wins tripled (and more) in both cases so far.

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GOA

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post #6 of 170
Isn't it still a little early on for the Schadenfreude?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #7 of 170
"After Apple's iPhone disseminated the existing smartphone businesses of BlackBerry, Nokia, Palm and Windows Mobile in its first three years, a variety of hardware makers and carriers jumped to support Android as the last remaining alternative."

I think you were going for "decimated" though that would technically also be incorrect. Maybe "destroyed" is really the word you're looking for.
post #8 of 170
Never been a fan of Oracle or Ellison .... but at this point, I am all on their side!

On the same note, Google has messed around with a wrong guy and company. Nobody and I mean NOBODY does that! 1wink.gif

Ellison wants his $$ back and NOW!

....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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....the lack of properly optimized apps is one of the reasons "why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy".

Tim Cook ~ The Wall Street Journal - February 7, 2014

Inside Google! 

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post #9 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Isn't it still a little early on for the Schadenfreude?

 

It's never too early for schadenfreude:p

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post #10 of 170

BOOM!

 

Headshot, as I've said all along.

 

Time for the thieves to pay the piper and good news for developers who still have protection from their work being stolen and copied at will.

 

I imagine a lot of backtracking and backflips will be the order of the day.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #11 of 170

I'd love to see Android be made illegal (after Google has been found guilty of stealing the OS), and nobody would be allowed to sell any more Android phones that contains infringing code, which basically means that every Android phone ever made should be forbidden.

 

They would have to rewrite their entire OS from scratch and start from the beginning again. 

 

Either that, or they should get hit with such big fines, that it would make their whole business unprofitable. The judgements in these cases are far too low. Crime really does pay it seems.

post #12 of 170
Given this ruling, Apple may just go ahead with the advice of the jury foreman form the latest Samsung trial.
post #13 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trubador View Post

Given this ruling, Apple may just go ahead with the advice of the jury foreman form the latest Samsung trial.

 

Why?

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post #14 of 170
YESSS! Go Team Oracle! Time for those evil Google monopolists to pay up!
post #15 of 170

Re: SpamSandwich...

The jury foreman said what most people were thinking. That Apple was going after Samsung, but in reality the stolen and/or copied technologies were done by Google's Android team. This huge reversal in favor of Oracle against Google (along with the evidence in the recent Apple v Samsung trial that Google was indemnifying Samsung) shows a crack Google's armor. It helps to show a pattern of infringements and violations, thus making it easier for Apple to win a case against them re: Android.

post #16 of 170
Quote:
 "If Sun doesn't want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language - or - 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way."

Why would they have to do either? Why not develop an original API tailored to the platform, or better yet fork an existing one? Why were the only two options to copy one of these two, otherwise completely independent platforms?

post #17 of 170

Larry suing Larry.

post #18 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disturbia View Post

Never been a fan of Oracle or Ellison .... but at this point, I am all on their side!

On the same note, Google has messed around with a wrong guy and company. Nobody and I mean NOBODY does that! 1wink.gif

Ellison wants his $$ back and NOW!

 

Then there is the small matter of bringing Dalvik into the fold of Java's GNU license rather than the Apache licence Google transferred it to.

 

Good news for Google, Android will become truly "open", every single bit of it, including all the currently closed add ons.

 

I bet they can't wait to get the hypocrisy they've been marketing Android under off their chest.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #19 of 170
No no no we don't want them to rewrite Android from scratch they might fix all its flaws esp. the fact that it is an insecure OS - can't have that

Originally Posted by Rickers - 2014

Cook & Co will bury Apple.  They can only ride Steve's ghost for so long.  Steve == Apple and Apple == Steve.  

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Originally Posted by Rickers - 2014

Cook & Co will bury Apple.  They can only ride Steve's ghost for so long.  Steve == Apple and Apple == Steve.  

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post #20 of 170

Huh... and I had just put away the popcorn.

na na na na na...
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na na na na na...
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post #21 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post
 

 

Then there is the small matter of bringing Dalvik into the fold of Java's GNU license rather than the Apache licence Google transferred it to.

 

Good news for Google, Android will become truly "open", every single bit of it, including all the currently closed add ons.

 

I bet they can't wait to get the hypocrisy they've been marketing Android under off their chest.

 

This is going to really hurt Android and I'm lovin' it.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #22 of 170

Apple should hire Oracle's lawyers. 

post #23 of 170

Google is so gosh-darned "innovative"

 

Go, Larry*!!!!!!!!!!!!:) 

 

 

(*Ellison that is)

post #24 of 170
The fun part is listening to a troll argue that Apple should give up defending its patent rights because only "implementations" (i.e., code) is protected, not ideas. I had patiently explained that patents are ideas and that implementations are protected by copyrights, not patents. Funny now to read how Google tried to argue away Oracle's copyright protections on its Java code. The Android world seems built on mountains of IP infringement. No wonder the apologists keep beating the "everybody copies everybody" drum, in hopes that it will make Google look better if everyone looks like a crook.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #25 of 170

Good thing the appeals court reversed the lower court's judgement that short phrases are not copyrightable.  That would have spelled the end of my budding career writing haiku.

 

So the legal skirmish will now be over fair use.  Google uses Oracle's copyrighted material to build a business with annual combined smart phone, mobile app and ad sales of X billions.  It wan't used for instruction, scholarship, criticism, comment, artistic expression, reporting or anything else  except profit. Let's see who can argue fair use out of that.


Edited by tundraboy - 5/9/14 at 2:22pm
post #26 of 170
After Apple's iPhone disseminated the existing smartphone businesses of BlackBerry, Nokia, Palm and Windows Mobile in its first three years, a variety of hardware makers and carriers jumped to support Android as the last remaining alternative.

Decimated maybe?

EDIT: I see that was already spotted.

I hope this has a knock on effect to Sammy.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #27 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayz View Post
 

Apple should hire Oracle's lawyers. 

 

No need. Larry Ellison is a great friend to Apple.

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post #28 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterbob View Post

Celebrating way too early are we. If this is fair use Google has nothing to worry about. Even if Google has to pay its only for 37 APIs most of which has been replaced and completely rewritten. The best case for oracle they walk out with a couple hundred million dollars. Lawsuits are not good to kill android. You rabid fanboys need to except that

Except or accept?

Google is a thief. F*ck all thieves.
post #29 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Except or accept?



Google is a thief. F*ck all thieves.

What did Google sleal.
post #30 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

After Apple's iPhone disseminated the existing smartphone businesses of BlackBerry, Nokia, Palm and Windows Mobile in its first three years, a variety of hardware makers and carriers jumped to support Android as the last remaining alternative.

Decimated maybe?

EDIT: I see that was already spotted.

I hope this has a knock on effect to Sammy.

 

Maybe Samsung steps up with their plan to replace Android with Tizen.

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GOA

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post #31 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterbob View Post


What did Google sleal.

 

At least 47 lines of code.

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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #32 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterbob View Post

Celebrating way too early are we. If this is fair use Google has nothing to worry about. Even if Google has to pay its only for 37 APIs most of which has been replaced and completely rewritten. The best case for oracle they walk out with a couple hundred million dollars. Lawsuits are not good to kill android. You rabid fanboys need to except that

Is that you Gatorguy?
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #33 of 170
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

At least 47 lines of code.

 

Now for someone to claim that’s “too little to matter”.

Originally Posted by helia

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Originally Posted by helia

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post #34 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Maybe Samsung steps up with their plan to replace Android with Tizen.

That crossed my mind. I wonder if the Android fanboys would just go along and become Tizen Fanboys or might that feel too weird, for even them.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #35 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I'd love to see Android be made illegal (after Google has been found guilty of stealing the OS), and nobody would be allowed to sell any more Android phones that contains infringing code, which basically means that every Android phone ever made should be forbidden.

They would have to rewrite their entire OS from scratch and start from the beginning again. 

Either that, or they should get hit with such big fines, that it would make their whole business unprofitable. The judgements in these cases are far too low. Crime really does pay it seems.
In fact android isn't written in Java. It's Linux. Java is the application language, rather like objective c is the app language for iOS and OSX. Still a huge blow, but android may well live on. I didn't see anything in the fine article about dalvic., the java virtual machine used in android. It's possible to compile a different language into Java byte code and still use dalvic. There are several languages that do this with the sun oracle JVM. This will be fun to watch.
post #36 of 170

Interesting ruling.  Does this mean that this implementation in a Java class is copyrighted?

 

public static int max(int x, int y);

post #37 of 170
Something to remember while ordering the Dom. IIRC jury polling after the first trial showed 9 of the 12 jurors finding "fair use" in Google's favor. New trial and new jury on that issue this go-round but the a finding of "fair use" would not be unexpected.

With that out of the way IF Google is found to have caused damage to Oracle they'll have to pay the piper. As it should be.
Edited by Gatorguy - 5/9/14 at 3:16pm
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #38 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterbob View Post

Celebrating way too early are we. If this is fair use Google has nothing to worry about. Even if Google has to pay its only for 37 APIs most of which has been replaced and completely rewritten. The best case for oracle they walk out with a couple hundred million dollars. Lawsuits are not good to kill android. You rabid fanboys need to except that

A lot of wishful thinking there, based on an apparent lack of understanding.  Wholesale copying of the API is unlikely to be judged as "fair use", particularly if it's for commercial purposes. And Google neither replaced nor rewrote the API. The penalty for willful infringement of a registered copyright can be triple the damages.

post #39 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Is that you Gatorguy?

Gatorguy has better grammar.

post #40 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterbob View Post

What did Google sleal.
Well according to the appeals court Google stole intellectual property owned by Oracle.
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