Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Ellison Takes the Stand Against Google Today in Java Trial

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison will take the witness stand today in his company’s lawsuit against the search giant Google. In what has been described as the World Series of intellectual property lawsuits, Ellison will be examined by Oracle lawyers in the case, in which Oracle has accused Google of infringing both patents and copyrights on Java while it was working to create the Android mobile operating system.

Ellison’s testimony will come after Oracle lawyers make their opening arguments. You can get a pretty good idea of what they’re going to say from this 91-page PDF posted overnight to the Oracle Web site.

Oracle sued Google in 2010, alleging that the Android mobile operating system violated seven different Java patents. Five of those patents have since been tossed out since they were reexamined, leaving two. That reduces the potential amount of damages Oracle might be entitled to should it prevail. Google offered Oracle a share of Android revenue and $2.8 million in damages in the event that it prevails; Oracle declined. Oracle has also accused Google of infringing copyrights on Java APIs.

Google has denied the infringement claims, and is expected to argue that Java APIs can’t be protected by copyright because they’re more akin to programming languages. Software developers everywhere are paying close attention to this part of the trial.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work