Tech and the law: Google said, Oracle said; Google FTC fine looming; HP price-fixing probe in S. Korea

Once again, with feeling: Oh, the legalities.

• It’s day 2 of the big Oracle vs. Google the patent trial over Android, in a court case expected to last for the next 8 to 10 weeks and whose witness list is a who’s who of Silicon Valley. Among those on the witness list are Oracle and Google CEOs the Larrys (Ellison and Page), former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz and Sun developer James Gosling.

Oracle initiated the tech titans’ legal battle in 2010, accusing Google’s Android mobile operating system of infringing on Java patents and at one point estimating as much as $6 billion in damages.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took the stand Tuesday. The Mercury News’ Brandon Bailey, reporting and live tweeting from the federal courthouse in San Francisco, has so far relayed the following from days 1 and 2: Oracle says Google knew it needed permission to use Java in Android but went ahead and used it anyway. Google says Oracle had previously applauded Android; sued after it failed to build its own smartphone; and is trying to exploit Android’s success. Android is the world’s most widely used smartphone OS.

Ellison, who said his Redwood City company spends $5 billion a year in R&D: “If people could copy our software and create cheap knockoffs of our products, we wouldn’t get paid for our engineering and wouldn’t be able to invest what we invest.” Oracle acquired the Java platform after it bought hardware maker Sun in a deal completed in early 2010.

• In case you missed it, the Merc’s Mike Swift reports that the Federal Trade Commission is preparing to fine Google over a workaround it employed to get ad-tracking cookies to work with Apple‘s Safari browser. The fines, according to Swift’s sources, could dwarf the $25,000 fine imposed on Google by the Federal Communications Commission last week, reportedly for impeding the government’s investigation into Google Street View’s collection of personal data over WiFi networks.

• Authorities raided Hewlett-Packard offices in South Korea last week, according to the Korea Times, which reports that officials are  investigating HP, as well as Oracle and IBM, over price-fixing. HP has reportedly said it is cooperating with the investigation. Oracle declined comment in an email to GMSV.


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