Google asks court to put an end to Oracle copyright case

Marco Green
January 27, 2019

However, a further appeal in 2018 at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, found that Google's reuse of the application programming interfaces had not been fair use, and thus ruling in favor of Oracle.

Java was developed by tech firm Sun Microsystems which was acquired by Oracle in 2010. It is important to understand the Oracle didn't sue because Google had stolen code they sued because Google was writing code to implement the same APIs.

The petition for the judicial review calls on the Supreme Court to answer two questions: whether copyright protection extends to a software interface; and whether Google's use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use. It was successfully able to defend its position in 2012.

The Federal Circuit differ in 2014, prompting a second jury preliminary in 2016 on whether Google was protected by the reasonable use barrier. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that decision to Oracle's benefit. The company said that the Federal Appeals Court ruling was a "devastating one-two punch at the software industry". It believes that a lot has changed since then. Now, Google has stated it will take the case to the Supreme Court. While it's easy to distinguish with tangible products where the first person to make something can generally have claim to it, things can become a little blurry in the software world, where developers are always interfacing with tools and frameworks developed by other companies to bring their software product to reality. Google responded that it had been unaware of any patent infringements and that its development well within fair use allowances.

"Letting these reversals stand would effectively lock developers into the platform of a single copyright holder-akin to saying that keyboard shortcuts can work with only one type of computer".

"The fabricated concern about innovation hides Google's true concern: that it be allowed the unfettered ability to copy the original and valuable work of others for substantial financial gain", said Dorian Daley, Oracle's Executive Vice President. After the acquisition, the new owners of the language sued Google for $8.8 billion for the use of Java in Android and another $475 million for losing potential licensing revenue.

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