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CEO meeting fails to resolve Oracle-versus-Google java case

Retrial set to start in May, case set to outlive the solar system

By Richard Chirgwin, 18 Apr 2016

An epic six-hour meeting between Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and Oracle CEO Safra Catz has failed to make a Big Red Java Chocolate Factory, so the two companies will head to court for their retrial.

A docket from US magistrate, Judge Paul Grewal, revealed the failed talks, which took place on Friday.

The two have been fighting a Dickensian dispute over whether or not the Alphabet subsidiary's use of Java in Android represents more than US$9 billion worth of Oracle's intellectual property.

Google crafted Android before it was Alphabet and before Oracle bought Sun Microsystems. Once that deal was complete and Big Red owned the Java APIs that Google uses in Android, it kicked off the lawsuit.

Oracle had a win in 2015, with the Supreme Court declining to reverse a 2012 jury decision that APIs can be subject to copyright. The same jury couldn't decide whether or not Google's use of them constituted “fair use”.

The deadlock over fair use left the two set for a retrial, which is now scheduled for May. As the judge wrote in his court docket, “After an earlier run at settling this case failed, the court observed that some cases just need to be tried. This case apparently needs to be tried twice.”

Not to mention, of course, that once the current round of litigation concludes, there'll still be appeals to as high a court as the loser can get to listen. This will run for years. ®

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