The court should also find out whether the SSO used in the Java and supposedly copied into Android are really the original work of the Java creators or they are also copied from some earlier programming languages for which patents may not have been filed - may be Google should unearth such evidence and put it in front of the court.
Patenting your invention protects you for 17 years while you profit from the invention without your competitors being able to do the same. This is what the patent law was intended to do. Today, many companies have a pile of patents that they don't use in their product, but instead go out and find other companies that "might" infringe on these very broad patents and take them to court. It seems to me to be a very poor business practice with bad morals. I guess anything for a buck.
xorbit -- great screen name! Please tell me it's origin is what I think it is -- something to do with an "XOR" patent way back when for moving a cursor on a computer screen?
It was long rumored that the XOR patent is what killed Commodore, and that the XOR bit blit technique was already in use at the time the patent was filed.
It would be great if an intellectual property attorney could offer some insight here on copyrights vs. patents as they apply to this case.
Here's my understanding and source of confusion.
In the old days, copyright only applied to written or recorded works -- books, magazine articles, music publishing, and electronically recorded performances like music, film and video recordings. Copyright was later extended to include software source code, and in the 1990s, software IP protection was expanded to allow not only copyrights but also patents on software.
This is where I get confused about this case:
Direct copying of a portion of a copyrighted work might be ruled a copyright violation, unless it is deemed "fair use." Most of us non-lawyers intuitively understand this as a question of plagiarism. If you plagiarize an entire copyrighted work without the owner's permission, you clearly have committed a copyright violation. If you copy only a small excerpt from it and give proper attribution to the owner, that often falls under "fair use."
In this case, the jury found that Google infringed by copying 9 lines of Java code in the making of Android. No fair use there.
But the structure, sequence and organization of an API? That sounds like the realm of patents, not copyrights -- using someone's invention (if indeed Oracle has such patents) rather than copying their published work directly.
If the SSO of an API gets declared as a copyrightable work, rather than an invention, the IP world is going to be severely shaken up and xorbit is right -- it will be a major blow to compatibility and interoperability.
If they would decide that SSO is copyrightable, anything implementing a compatible implementation of anything else is in trouble.
Talk about a blow to interoperability and competition if everyone can start to demand money for making something compatible.
The complexity of the case and the technical content is significant, more importantly the impact of the case could be far reaching. I am wondering if there could be a better way to decide the legality and damages due with cases like this? I would not be happy if I was involved in the trial (either side) and saw that the jury did not understand my points or contentions! Time will tell, I can't wait to see how this all plays out.