Google to Oracle: Your $9.3bn Android Java damages claim is mad

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Google has filed a rebuttal to Oracle’s claim that it’s due $9.3bn in damages for unlicensed use of Java code in Android.

Google says its own damages expert “strongly disagrees” with the financial relief Oracle has demanded, ahead of the companies’ May district court retrial over claims that 37 Java SE application protocol interfaces in Android infringed Oracle’s copyright.

Oracle has argued that the Java APIs were necessary to get app developers on board with Android early, which helped Google net billions in profits through app sales and mobile advertising.

Oracle’s damages expert estimated that Google has made $8.8bn in “profits apportioned to infringed Java copyrights” and that those profits should be recovered from Google. Together with actual damages of $475m, the expert thinks Google should pay Oracle a total of $9.3bn.

Just a few months after Apple released Swift for iOS, the language has become one of the most popular for developers.

Unsurprisingly, Google’s own damages expert thinks Oracle isn’t entitled to the enormous sum because most of Android’s code base is Google’s own.

The company points out in a filing obtained by Business Insider that the 37 Java SE APIs amount to 0.8 percent of over 15 million lines of non-infringing code in Android.

The search firm has asked the court to strike from the record portions of an assessment by Dr James R Kearl, who was appointed by the court to respond to the damages experts put forward by Oracle and Google and assess the appropriate sum for “disgorgement of profits”.

Google objected to three methods that Kearl offered to calculate the disgorgement sums and wants them struck from the record because the jury might consider them plausible.

First, Google says Kearl wrongly bought Oracle’s argument that Java allowed Google to attract developers, which then brought users and profits to Android.

Second, Google says it was wrong to assume that companies such as Facebook and Uber would have avoided developing Android apps if Google had not copied the Java APIs.

The final idea that Google wants expunged is that there would be no Android were it not for the Java APIs, an idea Kearl entertained in one “alternate reality” scenario that could give a basis for the jury to award the whole $8.8bn to Oracle.

Separate filings by Oracle suggest Google is angling to limit damages to $100m.

Oracle originally filed its claim against Google in 2010. In 2014, the US Court of Appeals overturned a 2012 district court ruling that the Java APIs were not copyrightable, but that Google may be covered by “fair use”.

The Supreme Court last year knocked back Google’s request for it to review the decision, so the matter is headed back to the district court to decide on Google’s fair use defense.

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