Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has hit back at comments made by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison after he labelled Google "evil". Schmidt's response comes almost two weeks after Ellison stated that Google "took [Oracle's] stuff" on US TV show CBS This Morning.
Writing on his Google+ page, Schmidt simply backed up his claims with the result of the court case, in which Oracle's claims of theft were thrown out. "We typically try to avoid getting dragged into public battles with other companies," he said. "But I've gotten a lot of questions about Larry Ellison's claims that Google 'took [Oracle's] stuff'. It's simply untrue – and that's not just my opinion, but the judgment of a US District Court."
Ellison had claimed that Google infringed its patents with its use of Java components in its Android operating system, saying he took particular issue with current Google CEO Larry Page.
Schmidt continued: "Here are the facts. In 2012, after Oracle sued Google for patent and copyright infringement in a case involving Java and Android, a jury found that we had not infringed Oracle's patents. And the Court ruled that copyright could not be used to block others from using the 'structure, sequence and organisation' of APIs, the language that allows different computer programs and systems to talk to each other.
"The ruling protects a principle vital to innovation: you cannot copyright an idea, like a method of operation. For example, no one can copyright the idea of adding two numbers together."
Schmidt used his post to suggest a change in attitude over patents, the current usage of which, he claimed, was stifling innovation. "This case goes to the heart of the current and much-needed debate about patent reform. Patents were designed to encourage invention, not stop the development of new ideas and technologies.
"And getting that right is what really matters. I know all of the above because I was heavily involved at Sun with Java and I had the privilege, thanks to Oracle, of testifying in this trial."
This is not the first time Eric Schmidt has spoken out about patent battles in the past, last year calling them "death" for the industry and saying that they "eliminate choice".
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