Oracle Wins vs. Google in Major Copyright Case over Java

Technology > Security

The Oracle World Headquarters located in Redwood City, California / Photo by Katherine Welles via Shutterstock


The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently ruled in favor of Oracle, ruling that Google violated the copyright law by using the application program interface Java APIs of software giant Oracle in creating its Android OS in 2009. 

Oracle’s general counsel Dorian Daley said, “This decision protects creators and consumers from the unlawful abuse of their rights.”

The disrupt between the two companies arose when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, allowing it to own its Java programming language, including patents, libraries, and documentation through application programming interfaces. Oracle then made the information freely available to the developers but licensed their standard implementation on some platforms, such as mobile devices. On top of the Java language, Google created its Android OS.

In 2016, the jury declared a unanimous decision and claimed that Google had not infringed the Java patents because the APIs were within fair use, a doctrine that balances the interest of copyright holders and the public interest by allowing limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring the permission from the copyright holder.

The latest decision over a nearly eight-year battle between Oracle and Google is now back to the district court to decide how much Google will pay Oracle. However, Google can still appeal to the Supreme Court. If the ruling stands, it is expected to have a big impact in the software industry, limiting the fair use policy.

In a statement, Google spokesperson Patrick Lenihan said that the latest decision is a type of ruling that “will make apps and online services more expensive for users.”