Google hit by Oracle lawsuit and 'sell out' charges

Oracle has launched a legal action against Google for allegedly infringing patents on Java technology in its Android operating system.

By Billy MacInnes

Oracle has launched a legal action against Google for allegedly infringing patents on Java technology in its Android operating system, heaping further pressure on the search giant as it battles to stave off accusations it has "sold out" on net neutrality because of the OS.

The company's famous motto, 'Don't be evil', was called into question by Oracle as it set out a complaint, filed in the Northern District of California, which claimed Google had infringed seven Java-based patents. 

Oracle accused Google of "knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully copied, prepared, published, and distributed Oracle America's copyrighted work, portions thereof, or derivative works and continues to do so. Google's Android infringes Oracle America's copyrights in Java and Google is not licensed to do so."

Oracle is seeking to have all products and advertising materials that infringe its copyrights seized, as well as damages and "any gains, profits, and advantages" obtained by Google as a result of its alleged acts of copyright infringement.

The legal action comes as Android is making significant progress in the global smartphone phone market. Research by Gartner found that 10.6m smartphones with the OS were shipped in the second quarter of 2010.

Meanwhile, criticism of the proposal adopted by Google and Verizon on the issue of net neutrality has prompted Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, Richard Whitt, to publish a counter to what he claims are "myths" about its proposal.

Writing in his blog, he countered the charge Google and Verizon worked together on the proposal "because of Android", claiming "This is a policy proposal - not a business deal. Of course, Google has a close business relationship with Verizon, but ultimately this proposal has nothing to do with Android."

Whitt claimed Google had not "sold out" on net neutrality but admitted it had decided to partner with Verizon to develop "the best policy solution we could devise together" in the face of an issue which had proved "intractable in Washington for several years now".

As to the accusation that two companies are deciding the future of the Internet, he says they are merely proposing a legislative framework to Congress and hope others will join in and help shape the framework going forward. 

"We're not so presumptuous to think that any two businesses could - or should - decide the future of this issue. We're simply trying to offer a proposal to help resolve a debate which has largely stagnated after five years," he adds.

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