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Ex-Sun chief says Android could use Java tech freely

updated 02:10 pm EDT, Thu April 26, 2012

Former Sun CEO Schwartz supports Google view

Oracle may have run into an obstacle in its lawsuit against Google during testimony by former CEO Jonathan Schwartz. Despite Oracle's own CEO Larry Ellison being unsure if Java was free to use for Android's framework, Schwartz said the programming interfaces were always cleared for free use and weren't proprietary. Sun didn't sue Google over its early Android use as it didn't feel it "had any grounds" to take action, he testified.

"You have open APIs [application programming interfaces], and then compete on implementations," Schwartz said at trial.

Plaintiff attorney Mike Jacobs tried to challenge the claim by arguing a disjunction between what Sun should have done and what Schwartz was doing. The CEO was making decisions about the company's business strategy but not paying attention to Sun's own legal rights, Jacobs said. Schwartz partly defended himself, saying he was "there to define our business strategy" at Sun and not to "write our contracts."

The statements have been supported outside of court by known company blog posts from Schwartz that openly embraced Android as promoting Java. Oracle tried to hide the posts as they underscored that the legal threats only began after Oracle bought Sun.

If found persuasive by the jury, Schwartz's testimony could undermine the core of Oracle's lawsuit. Most of its arguments have centered around e-mail between Google executives and engineers between 2005 and 2010 that talked about possibly needing a paid Java license. Schwartz's statements could make these irrelevant by arguing that no paid license was needed in the first place, as Google has argued.

In separate argumentation, Google has also submitted claims that Oracle's copyrights on Java 2 SE are invalid due to bad registration. As seen by The Verge, Google noted that one of the discs with source code was now blank, while there was no record that the other disc had gone to the Copyright Office. Oracle has claimed to have records, but Google insists that data must be readable for the copyrights to be valid. [via Caleb Garling as well as Dan Levine and Ginny LaRoe]

By Electronista Staff


  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    Could be the White Knight

    riding to the poor beleaguered Google's aid? Don't know if this entirely kills Oracles case, but...

    Not that any executive types fully understand what the licensing terms are on paper. Heck, lawyers don't seem to either.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009



    Looks like Larry Ellison will have to wait a little longer for that 5th luxury yacht of his.
    Poor Larry!

  1. bigmig

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004


    Disgruntled former employee testifies against form

    More shocking news tonight at 11!

  1. michaelg67

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2012


    Licenses are not transferable

    Usually in cases like this, licenses are not transferable. Same goes for copyrights. In most cases companies or individuals do not allow 3rd party transfer of intellectual property if a company has been brought out. The Intellectual property cannot be resold as part of assets, it would have to be re-licensed with the same or updated terms. I hope Oracle's attorney's know this.

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