Oracle is *not* going to play nice

I spend quite a bit of time talking through *theoretical* risks associated with using third party software in products, particularly with respect to software that’s been developed in connection with some type of promise of openness.

I try to explain to my clients that just because things have gone smoothly thus far with respect to a particular piece of code does not mean that it will continue to go smoothly.

Oracle has just made this explanation *much* easier for me by suing Google for its use of Java in Android.

The complaint is pretty straightforward (I guess he likes it here, because after spending so much time here with respect to the Prop 8 litigation, David Boies is named as pro hac vice on behalf of Oracle).

The complaint alleges infringement by Google in its use of Java technology in the Android Platform. 7 patents held by Oracle America (the new name of the former “Sun” subsidiary) are asserted. It also alleges copyright infringement.

In many ways, this move is shocking. The entire Java mobile development community is going to be reeling. But, in other ways, I think there will be some closure. Many of my clients have been waiting to see how Oracle would treat Java. And now we know…

In particular, I’m curious how the release of Java (including the Hotspot JVM upon which the Google JVM may very well be based) under the GPL v 2.0 by Sun prior to the Sun-Oracle acquisition will play into this. Does the GPL v 2.0 license contain an implicit patent license and/or create an argument for patent exhaustion?

**UPDATE: I have been informed that the Google JVM Dalvik is a completely new implementation, written from scratch by Google, which, assuming it’s true means that any arguments based on the GPL release of the Hotspot JVM are going to need to be much more complicated (e.g. it may play into the damages calculation, or perhaps they will still try to make the patent exhaustion argument).

Stay tuned.

This should be VERY interesting.

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