CUPERTINO, CA (June 26, 2012) - Zeidman Consulting decided to take a look at the copyright accusations in the intellectual property lawsuit of Oracle v. Google and examined the source code to determine if all copied code was found. It turns out it wasn't-a significant amount of code, nearly identical, was missed entirely.
The decisions in the recent intellectual property lawsuit of Oracle v. Google have drawn the attention of software developers and intellectual property lawyers alike. The jury found copyright infringement of Oracle's Java due to the copying of certain functions called application program interfaces (APIs) and nine lines of source code that were also found in Android. Nonetheless, Judge William Alsup dismissed Oracle's copyright claim, stating that the structure, sequence, and organization of the Java APIs were not copyrightable and the nine lines of copied code were not significant.
Bob Zeidman, president of Zeidman Consulting,
explained, "We wondered whether all the facts in the
copyright portion of the case had been uncovered and
decided to pursue these questions using the advanced tools
for detecting copyright infringement created by our sister
Software Analysis and Forensic Engineering (SAFE Corporation) and the thorough iterative filtering processes for eliminating false positives from those results. What started off as simple curiosity turned into an interesting research and analysis project to determine if we could uncover evidence of copyright infringement that Oracle's experts had missed. The two-week effort turned up some very surprising results-apparently copied code that was not brought up at the trial."
Zeidman Consulting used the CodeMatch tool of the CodeSuite software that is developed and marketed by SAFE Corporation to compare the 12,262 Java files of version J2SE 5.0 against the 17,062 files of Android version 2.2, also known as Frozen Yogurt or Froyo, the code bases at issue in the case. The total amount of data comprised over 300 megabytes and required over 209 million file comparisons.
Zeidman Consulting found that actually there were an additional nine files containing a total of 3,110 lines of code that were identical. What is even more significant is that the Java files contained copyright notices for Sun Microsystems (purchased by Oracle in 2010) and claimed to be covered under Sun's open source code license. The Android files contained copyright notices for mime4j, an open source project incorporated into Android by Google, and claimed to be covered under the Apache open source code license. Both copyrights are dated 2004, but the earliest release of software for the open source mime4j project is actually May 3, 2005. While they can't be sure that there was no development before this date, and they can't determine the date that Sun began development, obviously only one of these copyright notices can be correct and the code can be covered by only one license. It appears certain that one party did something wrong, and the evidence points to Google.
Stephen Wu, an attorney with the Silicon Valley law firm Cooke Kobrick & Wu LLP and last year's Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Science & Technology Law, commented that software tools for comparing code will play a larger role in large copyright cases in the future. "Similar to the increasing use of computer-assisted review in electronic discovery cases, it is inevitable that software tools will be critical to analyzing large code bases for possible copyright infringement," according to Wu. He stated, "With millions of lines of code to compare, comparing every line of code by manual review would be cost-prohibitive, and sampling may miss evidence of copying that could make the difference between winning or losing a copyright case."
To download the correlated Java files and Android files that were found and to see the reports that were generated by CodeMatch, go to www.SAFE-corp.biz/Oracle-Google.
About Zeidman Consulting
Zeidman Consulting, headquartered in Silicon Valley, is one of the leading firms for analyzing and reverse-engineering software and providing expert witness services for IP litigation. Zeidman Consulting has been involved in some of the largest and landmark high tech IP cases in history.