Android chief called back in Oracle-Google trial to discuss patents

Android chief called back in Oracle-Google trial to discuss patents

Summary: Andy Rubin comes back to court, and Oracle and Google attorneys discuss the importance of mobile OEMs in this trial.


SAN FRANCISCO -- Google senior vice president Andy Rubin made yet another appearance in Oracle v. Google at the U.S. District Court of Northern California on Tuesday afternoon.

See alsoOracle recalls Google engineer Lindholm in trial's patent phase Google: We developed Android not knowing Sun's patents

Called by Oracle, the focus this time was to learn more about Rubin's knowledge related to patents belonging to Sun Microsystems.

Right from the beginning, the tension in the courtroom bumped up a notch as Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs began his questioning. Similar to his first few appearances on the stand in this case, Rubin responded by evading most of the questions throughout his testimony.

When Jacobs commenced by asking sharply, in a few different ways, if a clean room approach doesn't protect against patents, Rubin replied that he didn't think so but that he also didn't understand the question.

Continuing to rely on emails as core pieces of evidence in this trial, Jacobs pointed towards email discussions between Rubin and Sun's Vineet Gupta in February 2006 about providing patent protection for Android.

In one message, Rubin wrote, "Had a long discussion with Eric tonight. He is cautiously skeptical if you and I can define the open source license and include patent protection."

In another exchange with Gupta along the same thread, Jacobs commented that Rubin exhibited some concerns about Sun's patents.

As one of Google's defense strategies in this portion of the trial is to assert it had no knowledge about Sun's patents, Rubin's responses that he did not conduct any review during the development of Android to investigate Sun's patent portfolio concurred with that strategy.

But when asked about this in more depth by Jacobs, Rubin said that he only did this on a personal level during the days just before the lawsuit was filed in 2010.

As Rubin was called during the last 15 minutes of proceedings on Tuesday, he will retake the stand on Wednesday morning at 7:45AM PDT.

The role of the mobile OEMs in Oracle v. Google

Rubin's appearance on the stand wrapped up a whirlwind, although dry, day of proceedings as Oracle began its case during the patent phase of the trial. Oracle called up witnesses at lighting speed in comparison to the pace of phase one.

Tuesday's roster consisted of Google engineers Tim Lindholm and Patrick Brady, Oracle engineers Bob Vandette and Noel Poore as well as video depositions from Android team manager Dan Morrill and Motorola's Rafael Camargo.

At one point during proceedings, Judge William Alsup wanted to know more from both counsels about the importance of mobile OEMs and how those partners figure into this case.

Jacobs reiterated from his opening statements that Oracle is not only suing Google for patent violation on what it does with writing applications and internal testing, but also indirect infringement on the part of the Android ecosystem and the OEMs that install Android on mobile devices

"They are infringing, but we're holding Google responsible for that infringement because they put the code out there and have relationships with these partners," Jacobs explained. He offered some examples of devices running Android that could be considered evidence, including the HTC Evo, Motorola Droid, and Samsung Captivate.

Google attorney Robert Van Nest rebutted by first responding that "obviously, there needs to be prove of infringement before anything else happens."

Van Nest further argued that because Android is an open source platform, the handset partners are free to change what they want and they don't have to tell Google what they alter. Instead, all the mobile OEMs are required to do is pass a test to prove they meet performance standards.


Topics: Oracle, Google, Software Development

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  • Why doesn't Jacobs call the lady in the Clap on Clap off the lights ad?

    Way back in the days of broadcast TV. Someone patented clap on clap off light switches. May be gesturing for fast on off belongs to them. Clearly play station infringes, and possibly angry motorists.
  • What I see is Oracle becoming more desperate.

    By trying to exclude witnesses and testimony from the failed copyright phase. Once tech people have their say there will be little to decide. Jury folks know what they have seen and heard. OTOH, the law is a strange process. Some say the best way to assure change is to adhere to the letter of the law.
    • Tech people like james gosling?

  • The People who will lose are

    The people who stand to loose the most are the users and developers. This is a sick attempt by Oracle to get paid monies. All of this drama should stop now!

    I agree that a plumber, house wife and a dentist have very little knowledge of how software works and what we as developers go through to create something real that works.

    Put a panel of software developers on the panel or users who love Android devices. I wonder what type of mobile device the panel uses?
    • >>or users who love Android devices

      wouldn't that become conflict of interest and the outcome become biased towards oneside. Also majority of software developers never think outside of the box then how do you see justice?
      Ram U
  • Damages

    I'm no legal expert, so I understand even less of phase two than of phase one, but it doesn't seem like holding Google responsible for what OEMs do with their open source operating system can be declared patent infringement. My guess is Oracle is trying to get them in to increase potential damages.
    • I believe the argument is.

      One of willfull distribution of an infringed system. Due to the scale of the distribution one can conceivably rope in the 3rd party as to damages and complicity.
  • IPR Lawsuit - a joke in the face of progress

    Intelectual Property Battle is always about the greedy wanting more and more money, and always gets ugly !
  • Is Oracle really trying to get into mobile???

    I found this statement by Oracle's attorney interesting:

    "They are infringing, but were holding Google responsible for that infringement because they put the code out there and have relationships with these partners".

    Microsoft had no problem going after OEMs - even with those they were already partners (e.g. HTC)! Apple is still going after Samsung and they're a major supplier to Apple for iPhone.

    So why would Larry *not* go after the OEMs? It doesn't fit his arrogant, money-hungry MO. But if Oracle did want to get into the mobile space, ticking off those you'd need to put your OS on hardware is probably a bad idea. In Mircosoft's & Apple's case, they already had relationships in place before they went sue happy. Oracle does not.

    If Larry does want to get into mobile, I hope they've got a plan they're ready to execute soon. Otherwise, what's the point (financially)?
    • Elli$son hoped for a clean swoop

      to make everybody pay the oracle java tax.
      The Linux Geek