The hammer came down yesterday, as Oracle sued Google, alleging not only that Android violates key Java patents, but also that Android is actually a Java competitor. Much of the focus is on the Dalvik Java virtual machine, which is included with the Android operating system.
Oracle’s suit alleges that “Android (including without limitation the Dalvik VM and the Android software development kit), and devices that operate Android, infringe one or more claims of each of United States Patents Nos. 6,125,447; 6,192,476; 5,966,702; 7,426,720; RE38,104; 6,910,205; and 6,061,520.”
Patent 6,125,447 covers computer security; 6,192,476 is a method for determining how threads access resources; 5,966,702 is for pre-processing and packaging class files; 7,426,720 is a method for dynamic preloading classes through memory space cloning; RE38,104 resolves data references in generated code; 6,910,205 covers functions that use both virtual and native machine instructions; and 6,061,520 is a method for performing static initialization of static arrays.
The complaint adds that “Google has been aware of Sun’s patent portfolio, including the patents at issue, since the middle of this decade, when Google hired certain former Sun Java engineers,” and that “By purposefully and voluntarily distributing one or more of its infringing products and services, Google has injured Oracle America and is thus liable to Oracle America for infringement of the patents at issue in this litigation.”
So, what is the problem? It seems to be not only that Oracle believes that Android violates its patents, but that Android also threatens Oracle’s Java business in some way.
According to the complaint, “Google’s Android competes with Oracle America’s Java as an operating system software platform for cellular telephones and other mobile devices.”
What does Oracle want? Mainly, that Google stop violating its patents. But it also wants cash and a jury trial. Oracle asks for “trebling of damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284 in view of the willful and deliberate nature of Google’s infringement of the patents at issue in this litigation.” That section of the U.S. patent law says that courts may award up to thee times the amount found or assessed.