Andy Rubin spars with Oracle attorney over old emails

Oracle says the emails to and from Rubin show that Google knew it needed a license for Java to build Android

Andy Rubin, the head of Google's Android development team, took the witness stand for the first time Monday in Oracle's lawsuit accusing Google of patent and copyright infringement in its Android OS.

Rubin tussled with noted trial lawyer David Boies, acting for Oracle in the case, over emails that Rubin sent or received in 2005 and 2006, when Google was first starting its Android development.

Oracle has accused Google of infringing its Java patents and copyrights in Android. Google denies any wrongdoing, saying it built a "clean room" version of Java that does not contain any of Oracle's protected intellectual property.

Oracle says the emails are evidence that Google knew it needed a license for Java to build Android, but that it forged ahead without one because it failed to negotiate a Java license with Sun. Oracle acquired the rights to Java when it bought Sun two years ago.

In one of the emails, Rubin wrote: "I think a clean room implementation is unlikely because of the team[']s prior knowledge, and it would be uncharacteristically aggressive of us to position ourselves against the industry."

"So you're saying that team had too much prior knowledge to operate in a clean room environment, correct, sir?" Boies asked Rubin.

"I think that's reading a lot into that small sentence," Rubin answered. "I wouldn't go that far."

In another email, Rubin wrote that the Java.lang API (application programming interface) was covered by copyright.

"You meant copyrighted by Sun, yes?" Boies asked.

"I didn't say that," replied Rubin.

"But you meant Sun, yes?" asked Boies.

Rubin: "Yes, in the context of this I think that I meant the APIs were copyrighted."

"By Sun?" Boies pressed.

"Yes," replied Rubin.

The Android chief was questioned for only 25 minutes, since he was called to the stand shortly before the trial ended for the day. Oracle will resume his questioning Tuesday, when Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, is also expected to testify.

Earlier Monday, Oracle called Bob Lee, a former Google engineer who is now the CTO of software vendor Square, and John Mitchell, a computer science professor at Stanford, who is employed by Oracle as an expert witness in the case.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?