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Monday, 24 January 2011 15:38

Android patent fraud turns out to be pants

Written by Nick Farell
google_android_logo

Storm in a teacup
The open sauce world was all a flutter after a patent reform activist Florian Mueller published what he believes to be new evidence of copyright infringement in Google's Android software platform.

What he found was that Android code repository that have Sun copyright headers identifying them as proprietary and confidential. His reasoning would lend weight to Oracle's case that Google nicked its code for Android. However, despite Mueller's claims that everything is a cut and paste, it looks like the files were found in a compressed archive in a third-party component supplied by SONiVOX, a member of Google's Open Handset Alliance (OHA).

When all was new in the open-source world, SONiVOX was called Sonic. It was used to build an Embedded Audio Synthesis (EAS) framework and accompanying Java API wrappers. When EAS was first published into to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code repository one of the files that was included in the initial code commit was MMAPI.zip and this archive contains SONiVOX's implementation of a Java ME Mobile Media API (MMAPI) wrapper.

Some of the files included in the archive for testing purposes were adapted from code that originated in Sun's MMAPI reference implementation (MMAPI RI) and the J2ME Wireless Toolkit (JWT). This code from Sun is publicly available and can be downloaded at no cost from the Sun Developer Network website.  It is dodgy code  because , it's distributed under licensing terms that restrict redistribution.

But Android does not use the zip file at all and many are wondering what it is doing there. The worst thing that Sun could do is issue a take-down notice which Google would be happy to oblige.

Mueller's new evidence is not a part of the Oracle and Google legal wars. Oracle seems to be going to court arguing that certain files in AOSP that appear to be based on decompiled versions of classes from Sun's own Java implementation.

What all this debate has done is proved that Oracle's copyright case against Google's android is not as strong as its IP charges.  Our guess is that we will not hear much about the copyright claims as the case gets closer to trial.


Nick Farell

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