Bloomberg News

Google Says It Rejected $100 Million Java Deal From Sun

July 21, 2011

(Updates with attorney’s comment in second paragraph.)

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. rejected an offer by Sun Microsystems Inc., before it was acquired by Oracle Corp., to pay $100 million in royalties to use Java in its development of the Android operating system, a Google lawyer said.

Robert Van Nest, Google’s attorney, said today that the proposed $100 million three-year “all-in” deal in 2006 was for a technology partnership to jointly build Android, rather than for just a patent license.

Oracle, based in Redwood City, California, is seeking as much as $6.1 billion in damages from Google in a lawsuit that claims the search-engine company’s Android software uses technology that infringes patents Oracle got when it acquired Sun.

Google denies infringing and at a hearing today in federal court in San Francisco asked U.S. District Judge William Alsup to throw out Oracle’s damage estimate.

Alsup said it appeared that Google “has a product out there that is in direct violation of these patents,” and pressed Van Nest to explain why the Mountain View, California- based company discussed a license with Sun.

“There wasn’t any specific discussion of patents,” Van Nest said. While a few lines of code in Android are “identical” to Java, that code probably came from a third party, he said. “We are investigating that,” Van Nest said.

Programming Language

Android uses a Java programming language that is open to anyone for free, said Van Nest.

Alsup cited a document to a Google executive from Google’s Android project leader that said, “‘We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java.”

“Don’t you think a good lawyer will convince a jury that it’s a license for patents?” Alsup said.

While Oracle’s damages may be in the millions or billions of dollars, Alsup said it was “crazy” for Oracle to equate its damages to the entire market value of Android.

Michael Jacobs, Oracle’s attorney, told the judge that Google adopted “the entire architecture” of Java into Android.

“Our position is that there is no infringement, there is no willful infringement,” Van Nest said.

The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco)

--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Stephen Farr

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Dunn at adunn8@bloomberg.net


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