Google’s Andy Rubin claims no prior knowledge of Oracle patents

May 9, 2012

The legal back and forth between Oracle and Google continues as the trial begins the patent phase in earnest. When called to testify by the plaintiff, Google's Vice President of Mobile Andy Rubin stated that he and his team of engineers had no knowledge of the two Sun Microsystems patents that Oracle claims Android's Dalvik virtual machine violates. Rubin founded Android, Inc., which was acquired by Google in 2005. Oracle's patents were filed by Sun, which the company bought in 2010.

When asked why he and his team referred to Android's Dalvik VM as a "Java virtual machine" during Android's later stages of development in 2007, Rubin replied that they used the terms informally and interchangeable. The Java name is copyrighted, but its use as a programming language is unrestricted. Rubin testified that no one associated with the Android project was aware of Sun's patents in question, and indeed hadn't done any searching for them. Google can still be found liable for patent infringement even if the jury determines that no knowing violation was committed.

A blog post by former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz is causing headaches for Oracle's copyright and patent claims. In 2007 the CEO publicly congratulated Google and the Android team on their accomplishments, which Google asserts was a tacit approval despite patents or software copyright. Schwartz himself testified in Google's defense during the copyright portion of the trial, which ended in a deadlocked jury unable to decide if the APIs used in Android's Dalvik VM constituted fair use. Google has called for a retrial after the hung jury.

[via Cnet - photo via Associated Press]

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