Google sums up its Java case: ‘There was no copying’

SAN FRANCISCO — After Oracle made its closing statements on Monday morning at the U.S. District Court, Google’s Robert Van Nest stepped up to the plate, defending
Android‘s implementation of the 37 Java APIs at question in this lawsuit.

Van Nest’s core defense rested on positioning this as a case of fair use, asserting that Android is not a copy of Java 5.0 SE but rather a “substantially” different work with different success in the market.

“It’s a whole platform that didn’t exist before and transformed the use of Java for a smartphone stack,” asserted Van Nest.

Van Nest outlined four points to Google’s position in this intellectual property suit:

  • Sun gave the Java language to the public
  • Google built Android using free and open technologies
  • Google made fair use of the Java language APIs in Android
  • Sun publicly approved Android’s use of Java

“Copyright infringement requires that you copy something,” Van Nest said. “There was no copying here because Google knew that it couldn’t use Sun’s source code.”

Also on copyrights, Van Nest pointed to the jury’s instructions about judging “the work as a whole,” which actually consists of all 166 class libraries and all that entails (i.e. implementing codes, names, declarations, etc.) — adding up to 2.8 million lines of code in Java 5.0 SE. Van Nest added that Oracle has to prove that it was “more likely than not that copyright infringement occurred.”

“This kind of use of APIs in this way where you use the minimum you need to be compatible is fair use,” Van Nest declared.

Additionally, a good portion of Van Nest’s closing arguments was based on the testimony of former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz last Thursday.

Although Schwartz acknowledged that Sun wasn’t happy that it couldn’t come to a partnership agreement with Google, Van Nest recalled that Schwartz did say that Sun supported Android’s use of Java nor did it have any grounds to file a lawsuit.

“For years, Sun had been promoting use of Java programming language,” Van Nest said. “That was their whole business plan.”

Again pointing to Schwartz’s November 2007 blog post in which he congratulated Google for the debut of Android, Van Nest reminded the jury that Schwartz knew Android was written in Java and must have included the Java APIs in question ahead of the SDK release.

“If that isn’t an affirmative endorsement of a product, I don’t know what is,” Van Nest lambasted.

To further hammer down Sun and Oracle’s previous support for Android, Van Nest reminded the jury about a video of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison at JavaOne in 2009, where Ellison said Oracle expected to see more Java devices coming from “our friends at Google,” and that Google had done “a fantastic job” in opening up Java.

Although specifics about Android revenue and other financial matters have been banned from the presence of the jury in this trial, Van Nest reasserted the open source status of Android as a benefit to the developer community.

“The point is that Google doesn’t make any money on licensing or selling Android,” Van Nest said, explaining that Google decided to make it open “to foster innovation and get widespread use.”

In his rebuttal argument, Oracle counsel Michael Jacobs spoke again about how Android has blocked Java from success in the smartphone market, reiterating that it is “impossible” to compete with a free version of its licensed products.

Jacobs concluded, “We need the help of the justice system to enforce our intellectual property rights.”

After closing arguments for the first segment of the trial ended on Monday morning, Judge William Alsup proceeded with the rest of the instructions for the jury about ruling on copyright infringement contentions.

The jury, made up of seven women and five men, will begin deliberating today for one hour and then pick up again on Tuesday morning. Judge Alsup previously warned both parties that the jury could take up to a week to deliberate, but he predicted that they would come back within a day and a half. The decision must be unanimous.

After they return with a verdict, the case will move into the second segment of the trial, focusing on patents.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet’s Between the Lines under the headline “Google defends fair use of Java on Android in closing statements.”

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