Small business software developers in the US are seeking damages for an alleged breach of a code that allows Oracle to sell software without paying royalties.
The lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the American Software Alliance says that Oracle breached Java code in 2007 when it created a new product for the business that did not meet Java standards.
Oracle and the software industry have not said how many Java-based systems it sold or whether they were sold to non-Java customers.
The plaintiffs claim that Oracle violated a clause in Oracle’s contracts with its customers that prohibits the company from making a profit from Java-derived products.
Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The complaint said that in 2007 Oracle was selling software that it had written specifically for the non-Oracle customer, but the software was also sold to Oracle customers.
Oracle said that when it learned that some of the software that Oracle sold to its non-customer customers was used to build a new server system for Oracle, it started investigating the issue and contacted other customers to report the use of the non, and discovered that the non had been sold to a customer of Oracle, and that this customer was the original customer.
Oracle told its customers, however, that they could sell the non back to Oracle.
Oracle also advised that the code for the server was not included in Java, but this was incorrect, the complaint said.
Oracle said that it would investigate whether Oracle had violated the nonlicense agreement with customers, and if it did, it would fix the code and remove the non from the software.
Oracle’s code has not been used since 2007, when the company made a new Java product called Java 8.
Oracle says that it contacted its customers and told them that the software would be fixed.
Oracle says that after its customers reported the non to Oracle, Oracle contacted other vendors to tell them to fix the non as well, the lawsuit says.
Oracle is seeking damages of up to $2,000 per software developer for the code breach.
Oracle’s software products include Java, Oracle Server, and Java Server, which are sold by Oracle to other companies, and the Java Runtime Environment, which is sold by other companies.
Oracle declined to comment on the lawsuit.