Quick recap: Oracle is suing Google for allegedly infringing their Java patents and used them in the development for the Android platform. Last week, CEOs from both parties gave their testimonies. Oracle insists that executives from Google knew they were infringing Java patents and that the Java APIs are copyrighted, but Google argues that they did nothing wrong, APIs aren’t copyrightable, and that Oracle just wants to money from Google.
Engineers also took the stand last week, which turned the courtroom into a classroom. IT experts are questioning whether having a non-IT jury would be good or bad for the case. For one, both parties are educating the jury and the the judge about the technical aspects of the case. The jury will need to be able to fully understand the case in order to make an unbiased decision.
Android chief takes the stand
The eight-week Google-Oracle trial continued yesterday with Andy Rubin, Android’s chief, taking the stand. All hopes of Rubin saving Google vanished when he gave his testimony.
David Boies, Oracle’s lawyer, battered Rubin with questions pertaining to Google internal e-mails, which show that Google execs knew they were infringing on Java patents. Boies asked Rubin about a particular e-mail in which the Android chief wrote to a Google engineer that, “I don’t see how you can open Java without Sun, since they own the brand and IP [intellectual property].”
Boies asked if that statement meant he knew they needed a license from Sun Microsystems because they were copyrighted. Their banter went on like this:
“You meant copyrighted by Sun, yes?” Boies asked.
“I didn’t say that,” replied Rubin.
“But you meant Sun, yes?” asked Boies.
Rubin: “Yes, in the context of this I think that I meant the APIs were copyrighted.”
“By Sun?” Boies pressed.
“Yes,” replied Rubin.
Boies later inquired about another e-mail in which Rubin wrote, “cleanroom version of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) would be unlikely because of the Android team’s prior knowledge of Java,” which, in layman’s term, means that a lot of Google employees came from Sun and have knowledge of Java, so even if they wanted to reverse engineer that, there’s a huge possibility that they would still infringe Java.
Rubin dismissed the inquiry by stating, “I think that’s reading a lot into that small sentence. I wouldn’t go that far.”
Rubin was questioned for only 25 minutes since he was called near the end of yesterday’s court session. Rubin is to appear again in court today as questioning from other members of the Oracle team continues. Aside from Rubin, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt, is also expected to appear in court. Schmidt was Google’s CEO for 10 years, but before that, he served as chief technology officer at Sun.