Andy Rubin Takes The Stand In Oracle Vs Google Case

From the very start of the courtroom spat between Oracle and Google over Android, it was obvious that Andy Rubin, the father of Android, would end up on the stand at some point. When the fight escalated to a $9 billion war with the possibility of a major blow to the concepts of fair use and open source at stake, industry watchers began waiting with bated breath to see what the original Android programmer would have to say. Rubin was cross examined for four straight hours by Oracle's lawyer, Annette Hurst, hailed by some as a "pathfinder" in the field of intellectual property law. While Hurst kept the pressure and the heat on, even earning a few sustained objections to her incendiary lines of questioning, Rubin kept his cool and did not disappoint.

Hurst brought up financial motives that Rubin may have had for the timing of Android's release, insinuating that the urge to outshine the newly released iPhone before it could gain too much ground may have been a reason to rush the end product and led to the use of Java APIs instead of Google writing their own. She also pointed out that, at one point, a spokesperson calling Android "a better flavor of Java" elicited a knee-jerk reaction from Rubin to have the PR team ensure that no unauthorized parties spoke on Google's behalf in the future.

The crux of his time on the stand came when Hurst began zeroing in on whether Google's use of Java, open source at the time of building, constituted fair use and if that fair use was still valid after Oracle bought up Sun Microsystems and their Java language. When Hurst squeezed out of Rubin that Google's approach was a 'clean room' one, she shot back with "A clean room means you don't copy stuff out of someone else's book, right, Mr. Rubin?", while picking up a book of Java language from a nearby table. Rubin's icy-cool reply; "That depends... There are books about open source software." Hurst's response was to insinuate that Rubin didn't know for sure if there truly was a 'clean room', which earned her a sustained objection from Google. Rubin went on to say that some specifications and code "don't taint a clean room", such as the Apache Harmony license that Java fell under, to which Hurst replied, "So you thought it was okay to take Sun's stuff if it was in Apache Harmony?" A set of emails involving Rubin were also cited, having to do with trying to find a replacement for Java an Rubin acknowledging that some parts of Java were off limits. Rubin stayed cool through the whole ordeal, which will continue tomorrow.

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About the Author

Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]