Tuesday, 29 March 2016 11:45

Oracle seeks US$9.3b in damages from Google Featured

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Oracle wants US$9.3 billion in damages from Google for use of Java code in its Android operating system, according to court filings.

A report said the amount being sought now was about 10 times what had been sought originally when the case began, back in 2012. Google's parent company, Alphabet, made a profit of US$4.9 billion in the last quarter.

The estimate of damages is contained in a report by an expert hired by Oracle. The increase in the amount sought is an indication of the explosive growth of smartphones in recent years and will cover versions of Android up to Lollipop or version 5.0

The expert, James Malackowski, estimated that Oracle could have made US$475 million by licensing Java to handset makers itself. Additionally, Malackowski estimated that Oracle was due US$8.829 billion, this being its share of the profit that Google had made from Android.

Google won the original case against Oracle, which was filed by the latter in 2010. The trial began on April 16, 2012, and in the first phase, the jury concluded that while Google was guilty of copyright violation, it could not decide whether this was covered by the principle of fair use or not.

The second phase of the trial, dealing with patents, went decisively in favour of Google, with the jury concluding that Oracle's patents were in no way violated. In the final phase of the trial, the presiding judge, Justice William Alsup ruled that APIs were not copyrightable.

Oracle did not take this lying down and appealed. In May 2014, an appeals court reversed the ruling, saying that Oracle could indeed copyright parts of Java. A three-judge panel ruled that APIs can be copyrighted.

Google then appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court. Its appeal was rejected and the Supreme Court sent the case back to Justice Alsup's court where it will be heard starting on May 9.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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