Lot of companies in the world use Java including the company I work for. AFAIK there is no licensing deal and we use most of the Java packages for which Oracle sued Google. So can Oracle sue any company which is using Java and making profit? If not, then why only Google is being targeted?

  • Usage of java is allowed. Re-implementing java based on the api docs isn't (according to Oracle). May 20, 2016 at 10:56
  • If you're using Oracle's Java (as opposed to OpenJDK) commercially, you need to negotiate a paid license with Oracle. Java isn't free for commercial use (and hasn't been since around 1.2 or 1.3). May 20, 2016 at 15:49
  • what do you mean by using Oracle's Java? The JVM is free, as in beer, to download. As is the JDK. There are terms and conditions...but you can certainly use it.
    – Thufir
    Jun 16, 2016 at 12:00

3 Answers 3


The issue is not the use (calling) the Java API. The issue was copying portions of it and re-releasing it within the Android SDK.

Simple use of Oracle's Java SDK is not what they are suing over.


So can Oracle sue any company which is using Java and making profit?

Yes. In fact, it is not necessary for them to be making a profit, just that there is not a fair use defence.

why only Google is being targeted?

You sue people with money, preferably lots of money. There is no reason to sue someone if they are unable to pay the judgement.


In the javadoc api license there is the following clause:

  1. License for Evaluation Purposes. Oracle hereby grants you a fully-paid, non-exclusive, non-transferable, worldwide, limited license (without the right to sublicense), under Oracle's applicable intellectual property rights to view, download, use and reproduce the Specification only for the purpose of internal evaluation. This includes (i) developing applications intended to run on an implementation of the Specification, provided that such applications do not themselves implement any portion(s) of the Specification, and (ii) discussing the Specification with any third party; and (iii) excerpting brief portions of the Specification in oral or written communications which discuss the Specification provided that such excerpts do not in the aggregate constitute a significant portion of the Specification.

Clause 2 has language that requires distributed implementations to be fully compliant to the docs (and require passing the Technology Compatibility Kit).

Similar language has been there since java 5.

This means that Google is not allowed to re-implement just parts of the java standard library described in the javadoc. Which they did for android.

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