Feds should watch Oracle lawsuit against Google

Issue involves patent rights on Java

Oracle is suing Google over the use of Java in Google's Android operating system, according to press reports. Android, which powers a new breed of smart phones, has been rapidly gaining ground on rivals Apple and Research in Motion, makers of the iPhone and BlackBerry, respectively.

As federal employees bring smart phones to bear on their jobs with increasing frequency, the outcome of the dispute could have an effect, especially considering the rapid growth of Android-based phones. Starting with practically no market share a year ago, the OS now holds 13 percent of the subscriber market and has been outselling the iPhone in recent months.

The heart of the dispute involves Oracle's rights to Java. "In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement," said Oracle spokeswoman Karen Tillman in a written statement, as reported by IDG News Service.

Oracle filed the suit Aug. 12 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Read the actual complaint here.

According to a report on Cnet, Google's use of Java has rankled Sun Microsystems, now part of Oracle, from the beginning of Google's development of Android in 2007.

"Google's Java implementation is different than the one advocated by a Java standards group, which worried those tech industry veterans who remember the problems that Microsoft caused for Java by following a similar path on Windows," wrote Cnet's Tom Krazit.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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