Google v Oracle hits Congress

Virginia Mayo / AP File Photo

The bitter rivalry between Google and Oracle that has been unfolding in court rooms over the past 7 years is now spilling over into a Capitol Hill lobbying campaign.

Oracle has stepped up lobbying efforts against Google on issues like privacy, according to industry sources. Now Google is pushing back. Last week the tech giant began circulating to congressional offices a deck taking issue with Oracle's claims, a copy of which was obtained by Axios.

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The backstory: Google and Oracle have been at war over a copyright dispute since 2010. Oracle first sued Google for illegally using parts of Oracle's Java software in Google's Android mobile software. The fight has spanned two federal trials, several appeals and even a brief stop at the Supreme Court, with each side losing at different stages. Last year, a San Francisco jury ruled Google's use of 11,500 lines of Java code in Android software was legal under "fair use" provisions in copyright law. Oracle last month filed to appeal that decision, saying that "Google reaped billions of dollars while leaving Oracle's Java business in tatters."

Why it matters: While one of Oracle's goals could be to try to pressure Google into settling the long-running dispute, Oracle also has substantial clout with the Trump administration — and that could be problematic for Google and other industry rivals.

  • Google was known for having a friendly relationship with the Obama administration, and Chairman Eric Schmidt was a Hillary Clinton supporter. Oracle CEO Safra Catz, on the other hand, was a member of Trump's transition team, and Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison has been a big Republican donor.
  • Trump doesn't share Obama's affinity for the tech industry, possibly giving Oracle an opening to nudge the administration to look more closely at Google's practices.

A spokeswoman for Google declined to comment. When asked about the deck, an Oracle spokeswoman said, "This is hilarious," but declined to comment further.