After having had its third trial in the seemingly never ending Java API ‘fair use’ case denied by a federal court in California, Oracle has new filed papers this week stating that it will take its case to the US Court of Appeals. This means we’re in for another round of court proceedings, despite the fact that a jury found that Google’s use of Java APIs in Android was protected by “fair use” all the way back in May.
This isn’t a particularly surprising announcement though, as Oracle has been signalling that it intends to continue to fight the case in almost anyway that it can. However, this appeal is going to be a tougher sell than its previous cases, as Oracle is going to have to successfully argue why a jury’s unanimous verdict should be overturned, and there are plenty of reasons why the jury originally ruled fair use in Google’s favour.
Based on the group’s post-trial motions, we have a pretty good idea about the direction that Oracle may try and steer the proceedings. The group has previously indicated that it believes Google presented so little evidence that the jury should have found in Oracle’s favour, based on the “four-factor” fair use analysis which it believes Google failed to win any of. Alternatively, it may focus on jury instructions in previous cases which it viewed as improper.
Oddly enough, the case is now coming back full circle to the Federal Courts which originally decided that APIs could be copyrighted, before this decision was overruled by US District Judge William Alsup. Even so, fair usage can still apply even to copyrighted properties, and Oracle has already acknowledged that it is fair use to just the Java language and the 62 “necessary” classes packaged into the Java API library. The group continues to argue over other “unnecessary” classes that are packages alongside these. This is certainly going to be a tough case to win.