Google Opens Its Patent Case By Questioning Oracle's Motives

Date : 04/17/2012 @ 1:12PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Oracle Corp. (ORCL)
Quote : 44.715  0.155 (0.35%) @ 3:10PM

Google Opens Its Patent Case By Questioning Oracle's Motives

Oracle Corp. (NYSE:ORCL)
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Oracle Corp. (ORCL) is more focused on tapping into the success of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android mobile software than it is in protecting its intellectual property, an attorney for the online search giant argued in court Tuesday.

Google's opening statement came on the second day of the trial held in San Francisco to determine whether Google's Android infringes patents and copyrights associated with Oracle's Java technology.

The day began with a stern admonition from Judge William Alsup that the case to be argued involves only a relatively small amount of intellectual property related to Java--regardless of the large amount of damages Oracle has argued is at stake.

"It is not Java against Android," Alsup said.

In his opening statement, Google attorney Robert Van Nest told the jury that the case isn't about protecting Oracle's intellectual property, but rather whether or not Oracle should be allowed to "a share of Google's success.

"They want a share of Android's profits," the attorney added.

As an open-source project, Android is provided for free to mobile device makers. But Google does make some revenue from related mobile advertising and software applications, in addition to the significant leverage Android lends Google in the smartphone market.

According to recent data, Android has grown in popularity to become the world's most popular smartphone software platform.

Google's attorney told the jury that Sun had tried and failed to build Java-based software for advanced smartphones. That left the technology prevalent only in lower-end phones, he said.

In its own opening statement Monday, Oracle's legal team argued that Google misappropriated Java to build Android, with full knowledge of top executives at the Mountain View, Calif., company.

Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., obtained Java in 2010 when it bought Sun Microsystems, which had developed Java in the 1990s. Oracle filed suit against Google some eight months later.

Oracle is asserting two Java-related patents, and alleging Google has infringed copyrights associated with the technology. In particular, Oracle says Google infringed copyrights protecting interfaces in Java, or so-called APIs, and that Google has unfairly altered the technology to its own advantage.

But Google's attorney argued Tuesday that Sun intended for the interfaces to be available to anyone. "That was the whole point," Google's attorney said. "They wanted to hook people on Java."

The attorney also played video for the jury of Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison appearing at a Sun developers conference. Ellison assured developers Java would remain open to the public, adding they should expect to see "lots and lots of Java devices, some coming from our friends at Google."

-By John Letzing, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-765-8230; john.letzing@dowjones.com

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