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April 18, 2012

In and Out of the Courtroom with Google, Apple

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

Legal disputes in the U.S. between Apple and Samsung (News - Alert) are coming to an end, as indicated by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who Reuters announced declared that a meeting will take place between both companies and a magistrate judge to talk about settlements.

But just as Apple (News - Alert) and Samsung are making their exit from the California courtroom, the trial between Google and Oracle has only just begun. Google (News - Alert) just announced an upgrade for their Chrome Beta app, but the company is making more headlines for their participation in the latest of billion dollar business trends – intellectual property wars. 

Despite efforts taken by each of the mobile giants, the Netherlands refused to ban iPhones in March at Samsung's request, and Germany refused to ban Galaxies in February at the request of Apple.

These two events represent the pattern that can be seen all throughout the legal timeline. In Apple and Samsung's global battle that involves 10 different countries, the stakes are usually high, which is why the settlement agreement in California may have come as a surprise to those following the drama. But Foss Patents, the publisher of Judge Koh's statement below, claims the agreement was only "semi-voluntary."

 "As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator,” a spokesperson said. “At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions."

In the initial legal documents leading to the California lawsuit, Apple claimed that Samsung “slavishly” copied Apple’s patented technology when creating their Galaxy line. Samsung naturally fired back with a lawsuit against Apple.  The legal dispute between Google and Oracle (News - Alert) is somewhat similar despite the fact that Oracle does not have a line of mobile products. But perhaps this is the real reason?

Google just announced an upgrade to its Chrome Beta app available to devices running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The app announcement highlights the allegations made by Oracle against Google that has landed Google in court.

Oracle claims that Google’s Android platform was devised by ripping off Java, which is the property of Oracle and has been since Oracle bought Sun in 2009. Larry Ellison of Oracle and Larry Page (News - Alert) of Google have both taken the stand today on behalf of their companies.

Both have made statements that have made headlines. “I don't think we didn’t do anything wrong,” said Page, when confronted by Oracle’s attorney who presented evidence of a slide from 2005 using Java technologies.

Ellison has stated that although he “should be flattered” that Google borrowed their software to create a successful mobile platform, it's wrong. "If people could copy our software and create cheap knockoffs of our products, we wouldn't get paid for our engineering and wouldn't be able to invest what we invest," he said.

Some reports indicate that Google views Oracles lawsuit as a pathetic attempt to share in Android’s wealth because their own attempts of creating a mobile line were met with failure. Ellison admits that at one time, Oracle spoke about developing their own line of smartphones and perhaps buying BlackBerry’s company Research in Motion. Oracle wants $1 billion from Google.

Edited by Braden Becker
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