Oracle's closing arguments: Google is making excuses

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?
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

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.


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