One of the biggest technology lawsuits filed in the US could find sensitive financial secrets seeing the light of day when trial starts soon following a formal filing in a San Francisco, California court Monday, of a case filed by Internet biggie Oracle against Internet giant Google.
Oracle, which acquired the Java programming language from Sun Microsystems, charged that Google’s Android operating system infringes intellectual property rights relating to Java, asking for $1 billion in compensation.
BBC News today quoted US District Court Judge William Alsup as saying that the trial of the lawsuit is a public event, and warned both companies that sensitive financial details of their operations will need disclosure.
In its filing Monday in San Francisco, Oracle said it expected its chief executive officer Larry Ellison to be among the first witnesses when the trial opens. It indicated that Google CEO Larry Page might also be among the first to take the stand in open court.
The Java programming language allows software to run across multiple computer platforms, allowing for versatile use of software that otherwise could run only on specific operating systems.
Oracle inherited the Java intellectual property rights when the company took over Java’s original developer, Sun Microsystems, three years ago.
Many business applications and other software, including games on PC, use Java.
In its filing, Oracle claims that Google, by using its intellectual property and then making available the Android OS for free, undermined Oracle’s potential of eventually licensing Java to mobile phone makers.
While Java is free for everyone, without the need for a license, the lawsuit focuses on Google’s alleged use of some 37 APIs or application programming interfaces that allow developers to write Java- compatible code.