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article imageGoogle seeks reversal of Oracle’s Android copyright ruling

By Tim Sandle     Jan 25, 2019 in Business
Google has requested that the U.S. Supreme Court reverse a ruling that has resurrected a billion-dollar copyright case brought by Oracle that dates to 2010. Nine years ago Oracle filed suit claiming Google infringed its Java intellectual property.
Oracle America became the owners of the Java programming language and all application programming interfaces (portions of the Java language) when it acquired Sun Microsystems. Prior to this, Google had developed its Android operating system based on Java language. On the launch of Android, Sun did not take action against Google. However, when Oracle took charge the company saw the Android operating system as a competing product and filed a lawsuit, claiming both copyright and patent violations. Google responded that it had been unaware of any patent infringements and that its development well within fair use allowances.
Following the 2010 lawsuit and two years of wrangling, U.S.Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal noted in 2012 that Google and Oracle had reached an irreconcilable impasse in their talks. The 2012 trial went Google's way, finding that Google had not infringed on the Java patents.
The case then went to appeal in 2014, this time the ruling was in Oracle's favor on the ability to copyright issue. The case went back to court, and in 2016 the ruling reversed back into Google's favor, with the judgement being that Google's use fell within fair use. 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.
The legal story is not yet at an end. The case looks set to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Google will restate its case that Google has said copyright protection should not extend to application programming interfaces because these are essential tools for creating software. Google will also assert that its copying of them is permissible under the fair-use defense. Oracle will again contest this and maintain they are due compensation.
More about Google, Oracle, Android, Copyright
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