Oracle's closing arguments: Google is making excuses

Oracle's closing arguments: Google is making excuses

Summary: Oracle's counsel posited to the jury that this case comes down to one simple question: Can one company use another company's property without permission?


SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle made its closing statements during the first segment of the Oracle-Google trial on Monday morning, and it all boils down to this: Google is making excuses for taking the property of Sun Microsystems -- and now Oracle -- and using it on Android.

See also: CNETJava creator James Gosling: “Google totally slimed Sun” Google defends fair use of Java on Android in closing statements

Oracle counsel Michael Jacobs commenced by telling the jury at the U.S. District Court that "this is a trial between large companies over really important business issues," and sometimes the numbers involved have been "staggering," whether they refer to the lines of code or dollar amounts in question.

Nevertheless, Jacobs said that there is really only one, simple question that needs to be answered here: Can one company use another company's property without permission?

"You will see email after email in which Google executives knew this day would come," said Jacobs.

Saving the technical-heavy argument and evidence for later in his closing statements, Jacobs compared the creation of APIs to writing a piece of music, going further to say that API design requires significant expertise and time.

"It's magical. It's like painting," Jacobs emphasized.

Jacobs argued that Google took the easy way out, and now Google is trying to use fair use, a law that allows people and companies to use copyrighted materials for new and different purposes, as a way out of this lawsuit.

"If Google can just take the APIs and be forgiven under fair use, that licensing falls apart," Jacobs warned. "That is the deep threat that Android represents to the entire Java community."

Jacobs argued that Google did not transform the 37 Java API packages, but rather only copied them from the Java core libraries into the Android core libraries. Remarking that "Google's copying was extensive," Jacobs broke it down to 400 classes, 4,500 methods, 7,000 declarations -- which would equate to approximately. 11,000 printed pages on specifications.

"That can't be transformative. That's just copying -- copying for a business purpose," Jacobs argued, explaining Google used the 37 APIs in question because the Android team knew that these APIs were the most popular with developers -- therefore the most valuable to Google as well as Sun and Oracle.

Trying to refute Google's argument that no one had been able to use Java to build a successful argument before, Jacobs called out a few examples where Java had been used for smartphones, which were RIM's BlackBerry, the Nokia Series 60, and Danger's Sidekick.

Yet Jacobs posited to some extent that Java is facing difficulty and competition in the mobile space because of Android.

"Android has foreclosed the market, blocking the opportunity for Java to move into smartphones," Jacobs said, reminding the jury that Oracle chief financial officer Safra Catz said during her testimony on Friday that "it's pretty hard to compete with free."

The bottom line here is that Oracle still wants Google to get a license for Java, and it wants Google to admit that its executives knew they were supposed to get a license but didn't do so anyway.

Jacobs tackled this by pointing to Android chief Andy Rubin's testimony on April 24, highlighting Rubin's statements that Google wanted Sun to "throw away their standard license" and "develop a new license that was specifically what we're looking for."

Yet on the following day, Rubin did try to maintain that the Android team members didn't think that they needed a license from Sun.

Furthermore, once again playing a major role in this trial, Jacobs recalled the November 2007 blog post by former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, congratulating Google for the debut of Android.

Displaying shades of his tense encounter with Schwartz last Thursday, Jacobs asserted that Schwartz's praise for Google really means nothing legally.

"A blog post is not permission. A blog post is not a license," Jacobs said sternly, adding later in his speech to the jury that "Google knows better than to claim a blog post is official permission."

As a reminder, these closing statements only cover the first part of the trial. After the jury deliberates and brings back a verdict on copyrights this week, the trial will move on to cover patents. Judge William Alsup previously warned both parties that the jury could take up to a week to deliberate, but he predicted that they would come back within a day and a half.


Topics: Google, Android, Mobile OS, Oracle, Security, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Oracle lawyers are distorting the facts

    and that's obvious for any layman.
    I'm sure Google's lawyers will put to bed this theory of "taking the property" from Sun as the the witnesses have clearly shown.
    While google's legal team consists of outstanding professionals with the interest of public good at their heart, Oracle's lawyers are a a bunch of greedy ambulance chasers, made from the same fabric as John Edwards.
    Who will the jury believe: the highly professional Google team or the slimy lawyers from Oracle?
    We are sure that the answer is obvious, and it will be a great day for the FOSS community.
    The Linux Geek
    • Java creator said his word "Google totally slimed Sun"

      Google is making excuses, alas.
      • he's a disgruntled former Google employee

        that knows nothing about legal issues concerning java.
        The Linux Geek
      • There is no crime called "sliming".

        So while James Gosling's word makes for a nice sound-bite, it is legally irrelevant.
    • Google is in this for money...

      nothing else. You are blind.
      • Google is for the public good

        because android is open and free.
        The Linux Geek
  • Bottom line.

    "Java creator James Gosling: Google totally slimed Sun"

    Well this sums up pretty much everything.
    • bottom line: that's irrelevant

      as it is not in the evidence for this trial. Also former disgruntled employees should be ignored when they know little about java licensing.
      The Linux Geek
      • This isn't about licensing...

        This is about 1 company stealing code from another company without even looking at licensing terms. You should really direct your efforts to another Open source project. Google does what they do to earn billions of dollars on revenue. I would have thought that a "Linux Geek" would see the harm Google is causing by taking "free" software, and making a fortune off of it. Then again, nothing you've ever stated in the past has been even remotely accurate, so why start now.
      • Except that Java had been made public.

        Google did not copy Sun's code, they used Harmony code to implement the Java APIs. Oracle is basically demanding that APIs gain copyright protection, because they certainly don't have that at the moment. If they did, don't you think MS would have squashed the Wine project like a bug, years ago?
      • Won't kill wine

        They won't kill wine for anti-trust issues

        J2SE under GPL, J2ME under LGPL and the license restriction states that it must be compatable and thats where google is in trouble, as Harmony doesn't have a license (no TCK run to get a license) and Sun (and then Oracle) were never going to give it a licenses for fear of loosing control.

        Sun designed this opening of Java to still force companies to license but I don't think they had it in them to play the bad guy, Oracle's never had that problem
      • Wine has been developed for many, many years.

        And in all that time, even at the height of MS predatory monopolistic behavior, there was not even a whiff of MS threatening the Wine project. And that's because no-one has ever argued that APIs are copyrightable before.

        [quote]J2SE under GPL, J2ME under LGPL and the license restriction states that it must be compatable and thats where google is in trouble[/quote]
        Except that Google signed up to none of that, and so is not bound by it. And neither is Harmony. That was the point of Jonathan Schwartz's testimony: you can't call it Java unless you pass the TCK. So Google called it "Dalvik" and scrubbed "the J word" from the codebase instead. And Sun said "Oh dear, we didn't think of that.".
      • But you fail at the copyright

        As they looked at the java docs while coding it. At the bottom of each java doc page, "Use is subject to license terms" could well become something that programmers pay more attention to
      • @Zogg

        I've noticed how idiots swarming around ZDNet vote down factual comments such as yours :)

        +1 for what it is worth
  • Oracle argument does not pass the smell test

    Judge knows it. Jury will confirm it and then it will be legal.
    • I agree!

      the implicit java license was in Schwartz blog post!
      The Linux Geek
      • I wouldn't call the blog an "implicit license".

        But I think Sun knowing what Google was doing yet choosing not to act might qualify.
  • the answer to the question

    if one company can use other company's property without permission depends on legal definitions of property, permission and using.
  • Oracle knows they've lost this round....

    ... that much is obvious from his closing statements. They're all essentially an attempt at damage control.