Appeals Court Offers Up Mixed Bag In Sun-Microsoft Case - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Appeals Court Offers Up Mixed Bag In Sun-Microsoft Case

San Francisco6:56 PM EST Mon., Aug. 23, 1999

A federal appeals court said Monday that Sun Microsystems is likely to prevail in its long-running Java case against Microsoft Corp., but questioned whether Microsoft's actions constituted copyright infringement.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit wants Judge Ronald M. Whyte, who issued a preliminary injunction against Microsoft last fall, to explain how Microsoft's acts constitute copyright infringement rather than breach of contract, unfair competition, trademark violations or nothing at all.

The appeals court also agreed with Microsoft by saying that the district court should not have presumed irreparable harm from copyright infringement claims before determining whether compatibility requirements were a limit on the scope of the license.

As has become customary in this long-running dispute, both sides claimed victory.

Jon Kannegaard, acting president of Sun's software products and platforms division, said the company was confident of winning the case after Monday's opinion.

"We think that the record of Microsoft's actions speak for themselves...and that Judge Whyte will make the necessary findings to sustain this," he said.

And while it looks as though Sun is in the lead, a spokesman for Microsoft said that the opinion was positive for the company in a long case.

"We continue to believe that we lived up to our contract and all our actions were pro-competitive and pro-customer and the end result was more choices.....this [ruling] reaffirms our belief that this is a disagreement about a contract between Microsoft and Sun," he said.

Last November, Whyte, on behalf of the District Court in San Jose, Calif., awarded Sun, Palo Alto, Calif., a preliminary injunction which, among other things, forced Microsoft, Redmond, Wash. to use JNI (Java Native Interface) in its Java products.

Microsoft appealed in June. Now the Appeals Court has bounced the ball back into Whyte's District Court by vacating the preliminary injunction and remanding for further proceedings.

A date for Whyte's review has not been set.

Sun sued Microsoft in the fall of 1997 for breaching its Java licensing agreement. Sun alleged that Microsoft was "polluting" the technology to create programs that run only on Microsoft's operating system, when Java was created to be compatible with all operating systems.

(BARBARA DARROW also contributed to this story.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
What Becomes of CFOs During Digital Transformation?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  2/4/2020
Fighting the Coronavirus with Analytics and GIS
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/3/2020
IT Careers: 10 Job Skills in High Demand This Year
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  2/3/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT 2020: A Look Ahead
Are you ready for the critical changes that will occur in 2020? We've compiled editor insights from the best of our network (Dark Reading, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, ITPro Today and Network Computing) to deliver to you a look at the trends, technologies, and threats that are emerging in the coming year. Download it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll