Oracle wins a copyright ruling against Google relating to Java’s use in Android

by: Andrew GrushMay 9, 2014

Google Cement Logo

Back in 2010 Oracle took Google to court claiming that Google had violated its copyright by including 37 Java APIs within Android. Although Java itself had originally belonged to Sun Microsystems,Oracle had previously acquired the rights to the popular framework.

In May 2012 it seemed that Google would win the battle, as a judge determined that the structure of the Java APIs couldn’t copyrighted and therefore shouldn’t be protected under such law. At the time Google might have found victory, but the war was just beginning.

Today it has been announced that the original ruling in Google’s favor has been reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The three-judge panel determined that “a set of commands to instruct a computer to carry out desired operations may contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection.”

Of course, things are far from over. The reversal means that Oracle can continue to pursue its legal case against Google, where it is asking as much as $1 billion in damages. The case has now been referred back to the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, which means its only a matter of time before the two companies return to battle before a judge.

Even after this next case is done, more than likely the losing side will end up appealing the decision and things will drag on indefinitely — not unlike the Samsung-Apple patent war.

Here’s the big question though: should APIs be subject to copyright law? Or will this only stifle innovation further? If you’re interested in learning more about the 63-page decision, you can do so by heading on over to Re/Code.

  • Raul Baez Camarillo

    Oracle and Apple have such stupid things to argue. So if we create some code using the java platform we will get the same issues with oracle? hahahaha sorry but it’s really stupid. The same thing apple made with samsung. I think they are watching those two companies getting better so they get angry and they want to have a piece of the cake too as they are getting nothing. And they shouldnt oracle never got the idea to create android, and google does. Apple is losing field cause samsung devices are selling more so they start some stupid fights, thats the reallity.

    • Brandon Power
      • Raul Baez Camarillo

        hahahahaha lol.

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    • Alex Zhao

      Android shouldn’t use java since the beginning, otherwose Android wouldn’t be so slow.

  • Rod Moore

    The new comers or little guys will be stifled. Yet, the large guys will continue on. By throwing away money at the courts (lawyers). What a waste of resaerch money.

  • dick

    i threw my samsung s4 out my car window. constant rebooting, bad battery life ect.

    • Brandon Power
    • nebsif

      yeh all those plus the occasional zap from the battery and S voice commenting on my selfies “you look awful today” “have you tried meth”, etc. gave mine to a homeless guy (hope he found a charger) and bought a BezelTC.

  • dick

    samsung sucks

    • Bryan Z

      that was random! lol

  • Cao Meo

    Down with Oracle

  • Preben Nielsen

    The US and their stupid software patents…….

  • Nidhish

    Predicting the future : Google buys Oracle.

  • Timothy Anderson

    I am not sure if Oracle really won. They have succeeded in pissing off the very people who decide whether or not to use Oracle products. Well, this makes that decision a lot easier, speaking of decisions.

  • Scott Kay

    The judges and lawyers who argue these cases are so clueless. They should all be required to complete a computer programming 101 course before even being allowed to hear these cases. These cases are typical of our litigious society that was once a world leading innovation society. I recognize that corporate law and valid protection of IP is an important part of a fair economic system in a capitalist democracy but the idea that API’s are something that needs protection under copyright law is simply ridiculous. Novel and unique implementations of functionality make sense but an API is nothing more that a programming contract of input and output parameters. But when you spend enough money on corporate lawyers I’m sure they can find a way to patent the chemical formula for H2O and have some judges agree with them that Oracle owns the right to all water being sold or consumed in the US.

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