Oracle vs. Google, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Perseus vs. The Kraken and other Titanic struggles

Consider this abbreviated time line:

November 5, 2007 - Google, T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm and Motorola announce the release of Android and announce the creation of The Open Handset Alliance comprised of 34 companies that will free the mobile world of all restrictions (the last part is made up).  Nowhere in the announcement does Java get mentioned.

Same day (almost like they knew it was coming) - The Chairman and CEO of Sun (possessor of Java) heartily congratulates Google et al on the release of Android and hails the salutary effect it will have on the Java community.  The blog entry goes out of its way to call Android a "Java/Linux phone platform" and "a Java based platform".

April 20, 2009 - Oracle buys Sun.  In the press release announcing the sale, Oracle calls Java "the most important software Oracle has every acquired."

 August 12, 2010 - Oracle files suit against Google alleging "In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement."

Now what happens?  Google will claim that they aren't using Java but built their own version of this platform called Dalvik using approved clean room methods and therefore haven't infringed on anything.  Google hasn't filed an answer yet and probably won't for some time.  Then the fun will start.  This has the potential to be a very visible and influential suit with ramifications for years to come.  Google is not likely to be the last company with Defendant after their name in this matter.  There are millions and millions of devices with Android running on them.  Plus it involves some heavyweights.

Of course, Oracle's Larry Ellison is involved.  He has some repute in the high tech world. 
Oracle's legal team in the case includes the mega firm Morrison and Foerster (whose domain name proudly is "mofo") and David Boies, a well-known attorney who represented the U.S. Justice Department in its antitrust action against Microsoft.  He also represented former Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 Florida recount battle and SCO in their 2003 suit against IBM over Linux. He also was recently involved in the Prop 8 battle in California, so he wins some and loses some.

If your Ambien prescription has run out, the complaint can be read here.  This case will be tried in the post-Bilski world, so who knows what that means.  Stay tuned.  This could get good.

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Comments (1) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Sean - August 18, 2010 7:51 AM

What a title!!!! Good article too!

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