Oracle and Google are set to kick off one of the largest copyright lawsuits in the tech world as the two start their legal battle centering on Android. Oracle alleges that Google has violated multiple patents and copyrights that it owns with the Android operating system. The trial kicks off today in a San Francisco Court.
Oracle is looking for $1 billion in compensation. The company is claiming that Android infringes on copyrights Oracle holds for Java. Oracle is claiming that Google used its IP for Android, and then gave Android away for free undermining the value of licensing Java for mobile phone developers. Java was originally envisioned as a right once and run everywhere platform.
One of Oracle's main issues with Android is that Google's operating system isn't fully compatible with Java. Since Java is free for anyone to use without a license, the case doesn't center on Java. Rather, the case centers on Google's use of 37 different application programming interfaces that allow developers to write code that is compatible with Java. Oracle is claiming that 103,400 lines of its API specifications are on the Android developer's website. Oracle is also alleging infringement on two patents that have to do data processing enhancement and awaited generate executable code. If Google should happen to lose this case it could set a serious precedent that could have wide reaching effects.
"APIs are the glue that allows computer programs to talk to each other - in this case Android apps use them to access the phone's features like its screen and memory," said Dan Crow, chief technology officer at Songkick and a former Google tech team leader.
"If Oracle wins the case and APIs are held to be copyrighted, then in theory, virtually every application - on Android, Mac OS, Windows, iPhone or any other platform - has to be at least re-released under new licence terms," he told the BBC.