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A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle

Aug 26, 2010, 22:05 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"Many electrons have been expended in the discussion of Oracle's recently-filed lawsuit against Google alleging patent and copyright infringements in the Android platform. Your editor is somewhat reluctant to contribute to the flood; at this point, the amount of real information which is available is minimal while the amount of speculation is high. This will be an important case, though; the world will be watching to see how it turns out. So here are a few thoughts to add to the pile.

"The patents all cover various aspects of the implementation of Java-based systems. Some of them seem rather trivial; others are quite broad. One of them, for example, would appear to cover the concept of a just-in-time compiler. Those wanting details can see the complaint itself, which lists the patents in question, and this page on the End Software Patents wiki for a look at each patent and the beginning of an attempt to collect prior art. The short summary, though, is that we're just dealing with another set of obnoxious software patents; these are not the silliest ones your editor has ever seen. The patents used for Apple's attack on Android cover much more fundamental concepts.

"The patents may or may not stand up to a determined prior-art defense, but chances are that it will not come to that. Prior art is a hard way to go when defending against patents..."

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