Menu
Oracle asks US Supreme Court to reject Android copyright case

Oracle asks US Supreme Court to reject Android copyright case

The outcome could affect how programmers can use software APIs

Oracle is trying to make sure its billion-dollar copyright dispute with Google over the Android OS doesn't make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The companies have been battling for years over whether Google infringed Oracle's copyright when it lifted programming interfaces from Java for use in its Android mobile OS.

There's a lot of money at stake, with Oracle seeking at least US$1 billion for the alleged infringement. Some programmers are also watching the case, believing the outcome will affect their freedom to use other software APIs (application programming interfaces).

Oracle sued Google in district court four years ago, but it lost the case based on a decisive ruling by the presiding judge. This year an appeals court overturned that ruling, so Google asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Oracle wants to make sure that doesn't happen.

"To hold unprotectable the thousands of lines of code Google copied would strip all code of copyright protection," Oracle told the Supreme Court Monday, urging it to let the appeals court decision stand.

Google has argued that it had no choice but to copy parts of Java when it developed Android, because Java was already popular and programmers needed the familiar APIs to write Java programs. Such "functional" code isn't even eligible for protection under U.S. copyright law, Google said.

That's the central question Google wants the Supreme Court to decide. But Oracle says the law is already clear.

"There is no dispute that Google was free to write its own code to perform the same functions as Oracles," it's lawyers wrote. "Instead, it plagiarized."

The Supreme Court doesn't agree to hear all cases, only those where it thinks it can settle an important point of law. If it declines to hear the case, it may be sent back to the district court for another trial. If it accepts the case, programmers will be watching to see the implications for copyright and APIs.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags copyrightOracleGooglelegalintellectual propertyCivil lawsuitsAndroid OS

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments