Oracle has just realized that the three-year-old Android operating system infringes on its Java patents and copyright, which it acquired along with Sun, and has filed a lawsuit against Google over the matter.
Oracle doesn’t mince with words, it accuses Google of knowingly and willfully infringing on its patents and, what’s more, of copying actual code from the Sun/Oracle Java stack.
"In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement," Oracle spokesperson Karen Tillman, said in the company’s statement on the lawsuit.
Oracle says Google infringes on several patents, seven in total, and that it has suffered monetary loss as a result. What’s more, the company claims in the lawsuit that Android competes directly with Java “as an operating system software platform for cellular telephones and other mobile devices.” How exactly is Java an operating system is not explained.
Patent infringement is one thing, but Oracle is saying that Google uses actual Java code in Android without any sort of authorization. This would imply that Google managed to get its hands on Java code and then implemented it directly in Android.
The Android mobile operating system is based on a heavily modified Linux kernel and custom system libraries. On top of those, it uses the Dalvik virtual machine to run Java apps. Dalvik is not compatible with Sun’s Java SE or ME implementations and is based on the open-source Apache Harmony project.
Since the entire stack is open source, the Android code should be easy to inspect and verify that it does indeed use code from the Sun Java implementations.
It’s interesting to note that Google CEO Eric Schmidt lead the Sun Java team while working for that company more than a decade ago. Google has not commented on the lawsuit.