Google's Schmidt: We did not steal from Oracle

Summary:According to Google chairman Eric Schmidt, the company certainly "did not take Oracle's stuff," and he's fed up of being asked the question.

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It's rare for executives of major tech companies to comment personally on court cases, but Google's Eric Schmidt appears to be at the end of his tether over the Google V. Oracle scenario.

In a public Google+ post published Sunday, the executive chairman personally struck back against Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's anti-Google comments, specifically the claim that Google "took Oracle's stuff" through the use of Java within the Android operating system.

"I've gotten a lot of questions about Larry Ellison's claims that Google "took [Oracle's] stuff," Schmidt writes. "It's simply untrue -- and that's not just my opinion, but the judgment of a U.S. District Court."

The court case in question was filed in 2010. Oracle accused Google of infringing copyright on 37 Java application programming interfaces (APIs) within the Android operating system. While Oracle argued that the tech giant used the APIs without proper licensing and permission, Google questioned whether APIs are copyrightable in the first place, and suggested that a ruling against the company would be damaging to open-source technology.

In May this year, after a court case likened to a horror movie, Google was vindicated over claims of patent infringement. Oracle has appealed the ruling.

The Google executive chairman continues within his post:

"A jury found that we had not infringed Oracle's patents. And the Court ruled that copyright could not be used to block others from using the "structure, sequence and organization" of APIs, the language that allows different computer programs and systems to talk to each other. The ruling protects a principle vital to innovation: you cannot copyright an idea, like a method of operation. For example, no one can copyright the idea of adding two numbers together.

This case goes to the heart of the current and much-needed debate about patent reform. Patents were designed to encourage invention, not stop the development of new ideas and technologies."

Oracle naturally wasn't best pleased with the court's ruling. In an interview in August, Ellison said Google CEO Larry Page was responsible for using Java's code illegally. The CEO branded these alleged actions "absolutely evil," stating that Oracle "doesn't compete with Google," but thinks that the tech giant acted badly by taking Oracle's intellectual property. 

The case has also elicited strong feelings for Google, as Schmidt's final rejoinder suggests:

"I had the privilege, thanks to Oracle, of testifying in this trial."

Topics: Google, Legal, Oracle

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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