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Schmidt Testifies Android Did Not Use Sun's IP 239

CWmike writes "Google built a 'clean room' version of Java and did not use Sun's intellectual property, Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, testified in court Tuesday. Schmidt said its use of Java in Android was 'legally correct.' On this day seven of the trial, Schmidt gave the jury a brief history of Java, describing its release as 'an almost religious moment.' He told the jury that Google had once hoped to partner with Sun to develop Android using Java, but that negotiations broke off because Google wanted Android to be open source, and Sun was unwilling to give up that much control over Java. Instead, Schmidt said, Google created the 'clean room' version of Java that didn't use Sun's protected code. Its engineers invented 'a completely different approach' to the way Java worked internally, Schmidt testified."
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Schmidt Testifies Android Did Not Use Sun's IP

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  • Like Linux? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ukemike ( 956477 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:00PM (#39790915) Homepage
    Isn't this basically what Linus Torvalds did with Linux? If it can be done with an OS couldn't you do it with a compiler or an interpreter? I'm not a programmer, so the likeliness of this story being true is beyond my ability to judge.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:36PM (#39791101) Journal
    This is exactly true. If it were truly a clean room implementation, they couldn't have possibly ended up with parts of Sun's Java in their code, even a single line. But they did. Not only that, Google engineers have said that they were looking at Sun documentation while they were writing Dalvik.

    So Schmidt might be right. It could have been 'legally correct.' But it sure wasn't a clean room implementation.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:58AM (#39791443) Journal
    Oracle has two goals. The first is to prove that Google copied them. They've already established this, though they might need to deal with a fair-use defense, or any other defense Google uses.

    Their second, and to them very important, goal is to prove that Google willfully infringed, and benefited a lot from it. They want a big payment as a result of this.

    I believe the focus on the TCK license is an attempt to get bigger damages.
  • Re:Like Linux? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wrook ( 134116 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:59AM (#39791451) Homepage

    Linux is written to the POSIX standard. The POSIX standard is copyright IEEE and the Open Group. They have been clear that they won't sue people for implementing the standard (though, they also own a trademark which is a separate issue...). Additionally, the ability to implement this was pretty much covered by the BSD lawsuits in the 80s, which said that *this* API could be implemented (not that *all* APIs could be implemented).

    I don't know for sure, but I don't think that the issue of blocking the implementation of APIs has been tested. POSIX is a special case. SCO was *clearly* full of shit. It is much less clear wrt to Oracle and Java from my position. The strange thing is (as others have mentioned) that Oracle seems not to be pushing the API copyright issue and are instead claiming that Google needed a TCK license. Things may change later, though.

  • Re:mod up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by edremy ( 36408 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:07AM (#39791509) Journal

    Schmidt has dirty paws. I would not be surprised if this behavior is why Sergey Brin had to oust him. Name any market Google has created? Search? Mail? Maps? Online Docs? It's all polished implementations of other peoples well proven ideas. Their finest and purest idea was their first one: search ranking by citation.

    AdWords. I'm unaware of any prior system that did automatic auctions for specific search terms. As far as Google's success, AdWords was equally as important as search, since it's the financial basis for the entire company. If you read some of the early history of Google their original sales methods were human centric, slow and no better than anyone else. AdWords started the flood of cash.

  • by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:12AM (#39791529)

    "Google wanted Android to be open source, and Sun was unwilling to give up that much control over Java."

    What?! Java already was open source, GPLv2. Since 2006. []

    It must be something else then, or what am I missing here?

  • by GryMor ( 88799 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @03:25AM (#39792115)

    Equitable and promissory estoppel: Sun helped project Harmony and was deeply involved in it's creation, to the extent that it infringed, it had permission to do so. Sun definitely received benefit from this arrangement as parts of Sun's own implementation were contributed, as a result of Harmony, by Google.

  • by JasterBobaMereel ( 1102861 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:29AM (#39793287)

    ..One point if the GPLv2 does not cover US Patents in Europe but it does cover US Patents in the US ... what is the problem?

    US Software patents are covered in the US - but implicitly granted

    US Software patents are meaningless in Europe

    Europe does not have Software Patents ...

    So this is about Copyright and not Patents ...and nothing was copied?

  • by dzfoo ( 772245 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:41AM (#39795513)

    Wow, talk about missing the forest by the trees. Did you even read that article? The point was not to single out the small piece of code as a smoking gun, but as an example of a lack of discipline in setting up the so-called "clean room" environment, which seems to cast the entire endeavor into question:

    While the amount of code unto itself may seem trivial, it does hold implications for Google's assertions that it used a "clean room" when creating Android -- in this case, ensuring that engineers working on the project didn't have access to copyrighted code from Sun or Oracle.

    Nice ad hominem attack there, Mr. Anonymous Coward.

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