The argument between Sun Microsystems Inc and Microsoft Corp over the latter’s use of the Java-compatible logo and its compliance with the latest version of the Java technology looks set to be a long and messy one, if the first day in court is anything to go by. The two sides met in front of […]
The argument between Sun Microsystems Inc and Microsoft Corp over the latter’s use of the Java-compatible logo and its compliance with the latest version of the Java technology looks set to be a long and messy one, if the first day in court is anything to go by. The two sides met in front of Judge Ronald Whyte in San Jose, California on Friday as he heard oral arguments as part of Sun’s motion seeking a preliminary injunction to require Microsoft to remove the Java logo from Internet Explorer 4.0. Sun sued Microsoft last October alleging that IE 4.0, along with Microsoft’s Software Developer’s Kit for Java (SDKJ), did not pass version 1.1 of Sun’s Java Compatibility Kit (JCK) which is the set of tests that would insure compatibility with the latest complete version of Java, the Java Development Kit (JDK) version 1.1. Microsoft countersued soon after, contesting that the tests were full of bugs and that they should be backwards-compatible, which would mean that once one test is passed the company would be in compliance with the terms of the licensing agreement. Judge Whyte gave no indication of when he will rule on the preliminary injunction to prevent Microsoft from using the cup- and-steam Java logo – although Bloomberg reckoned he said within the next six months. However, lawyers from the two sides met with the judge afterwards to try and set a date for the full trial and Sun was shooting for April 1999, which means the entire case will drag on for years. The San Jose court system is known to have a very heavy workload at the moment, especially from technology companies. Microsoft had previously tried to get the date of Friday’s hearing – which was announced last November- brought forward, but to no avail. Microsoft’s contention is that it passed the tests with the original JCK it was given as part of its licensing agreement with Sun and that fulfills its contractual obligations. Microsoft had six months from the February 1997 release of version 1.1 of the JDK to deliver its source code complying to the 1.1 test suites, which Sun also provided in February. Microsoft posted its SDKJ on its web site shortly after declaring that it was Java compatible and would run on any platform, which Sun says is false and undermines Java’s ‘write once run anywhere’ capability. Sun insists Microsoft’s contract requires it to pass the most recent version of the tests. Sun’s lawyer, Lloyd Day read out an email message in court from Microsoft executives acknowledging that the Microsoft software could not pass the latest set of tests. Microsoft says the licensing agreement waives Sun’s rights to seek such an injunction, but Sun says it can under broader trademark laws.