Originally posted on Gigaom:
On Monday, Google will finally get a chance to defend Android–the leading mobile operating system in the world, the linchpin of its mobile strategy and a lightning rod for criticism–in open court against those who charge Google has stolen its way into the smartphone market, as Oracle’s lawsuit against the company finally comes to trial. Here’s what you need to know:
What’s all this, then? Well, my British-sounding friend, this is where we stand nearly 20 months after Oracle first filed a patent suit against Google, alleging that the Dalvik virtual machine used in Android infringed on Sun Microsystems patented technology. Sun had developed Java and later sold itself to Oracle. That part of the case hasn’t gone exactly how Oracle had hoped: of the seven patents it originally asserted against Google in August 2010, only two will be argued before Judge William Alsup in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California after re-examinations cast doubt on the other five.
Two is better than none, right? That’s certainly true. However, the focus of the case has actually shifted over the last six months from patents to copyright. Oracle is now hoping to convince a jury that Google copied liberally from the APIs (application programming interfaces) associated with Java when creating Android, and that those APIs are subject to copyright protection. But even then, the overall amount of damages Oracle will be able to collect should it prevail has been dramatically reduced by the judge.