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Oracle hits Google with Android lawsuit

Software group claims infringement of its intellectual property over use of Java system.

Business software goliath Oracle has hit Google with a lawsuit, accusing the search firm of infringing patents regarding the Android mobile operating system.

Oracle claims that Google "knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property," during Android's development process, spokeswoman Karen Tillman said in a statement.

Oracle acquired the Java system when it took over Sun Microsystems for $7.4bn earlier this year. The Java platform allows developers to write applications that can be deployed on a number of different operating systems.

The Android mobile operating system is increasing in popularity, driven by impressive handsets from makers such as HTC and Samsung. Analyst house Gartner announced recently that Android-based phones made up 17.2% of global sales in Q2, up from just 1.8% last year. That pushed it into third place, behind Nokia's Symbian (41%) and RIM's BlackBerry OS (18%).

Research firm iSuppli also claims that Android is expected to overtake Apple's iOS as the mobile operating system of choice by 2012, being used in 75 million smart phones compared to 62 million devices running iOS.