Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun
04 Oct 2004
Pamela Jones does a good job explaining this in real world language. Read her Groklaw article: Kodak Wins Java Lawsuit Against Sun for the full story.
Kodak bought some patents from Wang in 1997. The patents cover a method by which a program can "ask for help" from another application to carry out certain functions, which is more or less what Java does. Kodak's business is suffering from the digital revolution, so it decided to sue Sun for infringing its purchased patents. It claims that Sun pilfered its technology. The two companies worked on some joint projects together at one time that involved the same technology at issue in the lawsuit, which Sun argued was an indication of Kodak's implied consent.
Kodak now says it will seek, in the damages part of the trial, $1.06 billion in past royalties, which they calculate represents half of Sun's operating profit from the sales of computer servers and storage equipment between January 1998 and June 2001. Why do they feel that is fair? Because Java provides "the engine for such computer equipment". Puh-lease. This is their workaround. You can download Java free, so I gather they wish to grab their royalties loot from Sun's hardware sales instead. I would expect them to also try to work out some kind of ongoing royalty deal as well, until the patent runs out. What kind of an upside-down, irrational Alice-in-Wonderland world do we live in, where such a result is possible?