Oracle sues Google over Android Java use

Oracle has launched a patent infringement suit against web giant Google over the use of the Java application framework in its mobile operating system.

The enterprise systems vendor says the Google built patented elements of Java into Android. "In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property," said Karen Tillman, vice president of corporate communications, in a statement. "This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement."

The Java-related patents Oracle claims Google has infringed upon include ‘Protection domains to provide security in a computer system’, ‘Controlling access to a resource’ and ‘Interpreting functions utilising a hybrid of virtual and native machine instructions’.

Java was developed in the 1980s by Sun Microsystems, the Silicon Valley giant acquired by Oracle earlier this year. Originally designed as an operating system for TV set top boxes, it grew to become a method of writing applications that could run on any device. Today, it is used in devices ranging from London’s Oyster cards to telecommunications satellites.

In 2006, Sun made much – though not all – of the programming language available under an open source license. 

Google CEO Eric Schmidt was chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems during the 1980s, and played a leading role in the development of Java. It is thought that he has been large advocate of both Java and open source principles since joining Google in 2001.

Since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, a number of the company’s founders and senior executives have left the company, including Java’s original creator James Gosling. "Just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good," he wrote on his blog following his resignation.

Peter Done

Peter Done is managing director of Peninsula Business Services, the personnel and employment law consultancy he set up having already built a successful betting shop business.

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