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Open Invention Network justifies Oracle’s dispute with Google

It was about two months ago when the news of Google being sued by Oracle broke out. The row between the two technology stalwarts was with regard to Google’s violation of copyrights and patents related to Java; which was acquired by Oracle along with Sun Microsystems during the initial months of this year. The terse claimed that Google “knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property.”

The complaint (pdf), wherein the he U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, says that “Android (including without limitation the Dalvik VM and the Android software development kit) and devices that operate Android infringe one or more claims of each of United States Patents Nos. 6,125,447; 6,192,476; 5,966,702; 7,426,720; RE38, 104; 6,910,205; and 6,061,520.”

But what was quite confusing for many was how can someone sue a firm using Linux operating system when the Open Invention Network (OIN) license restricts you from filing a suit against Linux itself. Google has Linux as its Mobile Operating System in the form of Android which makes it a part of the Open Invention Network. Oracle also possesses the OIN license. So how is it fair for Oracle to sue Google if both are part of the OIN license? Whereas Oracle in itself is violating the OIN license according to section 1.2 of the Open Invention Network license agreement which states:

Subject to Section 2.2 and in consideration for the license granted in Section 1.1, You, on behalf of yourself and your Affiliates, (a) grant to each Licensee and its Subsidiaries that are Subsidiaries as of the Eligibility Date a royalty-free, worldwide, nonexclusive, non-transferable license under Your Patents for making, having made, using, importing, and Distributing any Linux System; and (b) represent and warrant that (i) You have the full right and power to grant the foregoing licenses and the release in Section 1.4 and that Your Affiliates are and will be bound by the obligations of this Agreement; and (ii) neither You nor any of Your Affiliates has a Claim pending against any Person for making, having made, using, importing, and Distributing any Linux System.

As per this section, no one can prosecute a firm that is affiliated to the Linux system. So let us dig deeper and find out if Oracle is fair in filing a case against Google. The Linux system as defined by the OIN restricts firms from utilizing a Linux Environment Component. According to OIN, Linux Environment Component includes any of the software packages whose released source code shall be identified on the OIN website, or a Predecessor Release or Successor Release of any of such packages, including bug fixes and error corrections thereto.

The list of components that make up the Linux Environment Component does not include Java, Harmony or the Dalvik VM thereby justifying Oracle’s move of suing Google since Java is a patented product solution owned by Oracle. Google in its Mobile OS – Android is using the services of Java without any purchase rights. And hence, Oracle will not be violating any rule put forth by OIN license whilst prosecuting Google.

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