Oracle and Google are headed to court Monday so that a jury can decide whether Google misappropriated Oracle’s Java technology to build its Android software platform, as Oracle claims.
Oracle filed its lawsuit 18 months ago but the case goes back further, to when Google bought a Silicon Valley startup called Android in 2005 and decided to use its software in mobile phones.
Here’s a brief history of Android and Oracle’s lawsuit, taken from court filings and news reports.
August 2005 — Google buys Android Inc. Soon after, it discusses the possibility of licensing Java from Sun.
October 2005 — Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s Android division, writes in an email that Google can either adopt Microsoft’s C# for Android or “do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way.” Over the next several months, Google and Sun continue to negotiate for a Java license but fail to reach a deal.
February 2006 — Sun supposedly offers Google a three-year Java license for US$20 million plus 10 percent of Google’s Android-related revenue, capped at $25 million. Google rejects the offer.
November 2007 — Google announces publicly that it is developing Android, which includes a Java-compatible virtual machine called Dalvik.
October 2008 — HTC releases the first Android phone, the HTC Dream.
January 2010 — Oracle acquires Sun and inherits its Java patents and copyrights.
July 2010 — Oracle meets with Google’s lawyers to discuss Oracle’s patent infringement allegations.
Aug. 6, 2010 — Rubin receives an email from a Google engineer stating that the alternatives to Java “all suck” and that “we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need.”
Aug. 12, 2010 — Oracle files a lawsuit against Google, accusing it of infringing seven Java patents and its Java copyrights. Google denies any wrongdoing and calls the lawsuit a “baseless attack” on Google and open-source developers.
January 2011 — Android accounts for one-third of all smartphone sales, Canalys says.
February 2011 — Google asks the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reexamine Oracle’s patents, arguing they shouldn’t have been issued. By the time the trial starts, only two of the seven patents remain in the suit.
June 2011 — A court filing reveals that Oracle is seeking between $1.4 billion and $6.1 billion in damages.
July 2011 — A judge rules that Oracle “overreached” with its damages estimate and tells it to recalculate.
September 2011 — The CEOs of Oracle and Google, Larry Ellison and Larry Page, are ordered to hold settlement talks but can’t reach agreement.
November 2011 — Android accounts for more than 50 percent of smartphone sales, Gartner says.
March 2012 — The two sides are ordered to hold more settlement talks but still can’t reach a deal.
April — An eight-week jury trial is scheduled to begin Monday, April 16, at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
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 email@example.com