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18 April 2012, 16:46

Oracle and Google trial: day 2

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The second day of court proceedings in Oracle's lawsuit against Google over Java-related patents and copyrights hinged on the dispute over whether APIs can be copyrighted. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison testified, making the argument that writing APIs is "arguably one of the most difficult things we do at Oracle", according to a tweet by journalist James Niccolai.

In Google's opening statement, the company argued that it did not need a licence for Java as the language itself is an open standard and that its APIs are necessary for its use. In essence, Google says that Android's use of the Java APIs therefore constitutes fair use.

Further information that surfaced during the proceedings was Ellison's admission that Oracle had originally planned to enter into competition with Android in the smartphone market by creating their own mobile framework based on Java. Apparently Oracle had, to this end, considered buying either BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) or Palm. Palm was eventually acquired by Hewlett-Packard.

According to Ellison, Google was the only major smartphone company he knew of that had not purchased a licence for Java. He testified that he had personally tried to persuade both Eric Schmidt and Larry Page to work together on using a licensed version of Java in Android to make it compatible with Oracle's efforts but had eventually failed to do so.

Google lawyer Robert Van Nest told the jury that Google had invested thousands of engineering hours in the fifteen million lines of code comprising Android and that, at a later date in the trial, former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz would testify that he supported Google's efforts. Van Nest also pointed out that Ellison himself, together with Sun co-founder Scott McNealy, had publicly praised Android and his "friends from Google" in 2009 when Oracle was still awaiting regulatory approval to buy Sun.

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