Google is once again facing claims it copied others’ code in Android. Purdue University has sued Google over allegations the company is knowingly violating a patent for detecting power management bugs in code. The internet giant purportedly saw an article about Professor Y. Charlie Hu’s research on the subject in 2012 and incorporated related infringing code into Android Lint, an error-catching tool in what would become the Android Studio development kit.
The USPTO granted the patent in August 2019. Purdue said it notified Google of the claimed violation in August 2021, but that Google had continued to incorporate the disputed code in Android Studio as recently as this month. The school is asking for unspecified “past and future” damages from Google.
In a statement, Google told Engadget it was still examining the lawsuit, but that it would “vigorously defend” itself and “independently develop[s]” products. We’ve asked Purdue for comment, but the university already told Reuters it believed Google violated more patents and would add them to the lawsuit if the company didn’t negotiate licenses.
School technology patent lawsuits aren’t new. Apple, for instance, was asked more than once to pay the University of Wisconsin over claimed infringements. 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 chunk of Android’s app ecosystem is built around copied technology.