TECH: Purdue University is suing Google for copying code for use in Android.

Google is once again accused of copy­ing oth­er peo­ple’s code into Android. Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty sued Google over alle­ga­tions that the com­pa­ny know­ing­ly infringes a patent for detect­ing pow­er man­age­ment bugs in code. The inter­net giant report­ed­ly saw a paper about Pro­fes­sor Y. Char­lie Hu’s research on the sub­ject in 2012 and incor­po­rat­ed relat­ed infring­ing code into Android Lint, an error detec­tion tool in what would become the Android Stu­dio development.

The USPTO grant­ed the patent in August 2019. Pur­due said it noti­fied Google of the alleged infringe­ment in August 2021, but that Google con­tin­ued to incor­po­rate the chal­lenged code into Android Stu­dio as recent­ly as this month. The school seeks unspec­i­fied “past and future” dam­ages from Google.

In a state­ment, Google told Engad­get that it is still review­ing the law­suit, but will “vig­or­ous­ly defend itself” and “inde­pen­dent­ly develop[s]” prod­ucts. We asked Pur­due for com­ment, but the uni­ver­si­ty has already told Reuters it believes Google is infring­ing on more patents and will add them to the law­suit if the com­pa­ny does­n’t nego­ti­ate licenses.

School tech­nol­o­gy patent law­suits are not new. Apple, for exam­ple, has more than once been asked to pay the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin for alleged vio­la­tions. This case may be more seri­ous than some, how­ev­er. Android Stu­dio is a sta­ple of Android app devel­op­ment — if Pur­due can prove a vio­la­tion in the first place, it could argue that a sig­nif­i­cant part of Android’s app ecosys­tem is built around copied technology.

Pur­due pro­vid­ed its full state­ment to Engad­get. The uni­ver­si­ty says it spent “weeks” try­ing to set up a meet­ing to dis­cuss the patent dis­pute, but was forced to take legal action when Google “denied rea­son­able terms” for the encounter. The school is still open to a meet­ing to dis­cuss licens­ing terms, but will add patents to the case if it does­n’t get a response.

You can read Pur­due’s full state­ment below:

“It is the pol­i­cy of the Pur­due Research Foun­da­tion to pro­tect intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty devel­oped and patent­ed by Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty fac­ul­ty and researchers. Many inno­va­tions are sup­port­ed by tax­pay­er-fund­ed research grants and endow­ments, and the PRF is respon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing these pub­lic invest­ments from those who would infringe for pri­vate gain.

“The law­suit against Google was filed after a year-long dis­cov­ery inves­ti­ga­tion that found Google’s will­ful infringe­ment of sev­er­al PRF patents. PRF tried for weeks to arrange a meet­ing with Google, but when Google refused terms rea­son­able for a meet­ing, Pur­due was left with no choice but to sue.

“RF is the assignee of sev­er­al addi­tion­al patents that Google infringes. Pur­due has again invit­ed Google to meet, view the evi­dence of infringe­ment, and dis­cuss the terms of the license. If Google con­tin­ues to refuse to nego­ti­ate a license, the law­suit will be amend­ed to add patents.

“What hap­pens next is entire­ly up to Google.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.