Google Responds to Oracle's Android Suit

Google this week responded to Java owner Oracle's patent-infringement lawsuit against it, denying all seven charges and requesting that the "legally deficient" suit be immediately dismissed or clarified for further review. Google also launched a countersuit against Oracle, charging that the database giant's patents are invalid.

Oracle sued Google in August, claiming that with its Android smartphone OS, Google "knowingly, directly, and repeatedly" infringed on Oracle patents related to Java. (Oracle had previously purchased Java owner Sun Microsystems.) Android utilizes a Java-based runtime technology, and applications for the OS are written in Java.

Google issued a plain-spoken and strongly worded defense. "Google specifically denies that Google has infringed or is liable for infringement of any valid and enforceable patents of Oracle," the company's court filing reads. "Google further specifically denies that Oracle is entitled to any relief whatsoever of any kind against Google as a result of any act of Google or any person or entity acting on behalf of Google."

A scan through the response filing reveals Google's stance: The Oracle patents aren't valid in the first place, Android doesn't infringe on those patents regardless, Android uses only the open-source parts of Java, Oracle isn't being damaged in any way by Android, and thus the suit is frivolous.

Google also leveled a number of counter-charges against Oracle, the most humorous of which relates to Oracle hypocrisy. Although Android is licensed under the open-source Apache license, Java is at least partially closed, and Oracle had in 2007 demanded that Java's then-owner, Sun Microsystems, make the system fully open source. However, when Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems, that talk ended, and now Oracle is suing Google for utilizing closed-source code that it owns.

"It's disappointing that after years of supporting open source, Oracle turned around to attack not just Android but the entire open-source Java community with vague software patent claims," a Google spokesperson said. "The \\[Oracle\\] complaint does not specifically identify any allegedly infringing works of Google."

Oracle has already issued a public statement about the Google countersuit.

"In developing Android, Google chose to use Java code without obtaining a license," the Oracle statement reads. "Additionally, it modified the technology so it is not compliant with Java's central design principle to 'write once and run anywhere.' Google's infringement and fragmentation of Java code not only damage Oracle; it clearly harms consumers, developers, and device manufacturers."

A hearing is currently scheduled for November 18.

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