Google Wins Epic Java Copyright Case Against Oracle

Google has finally won six-year long $9-billion legal battle with Oracle over the use of Java APIs in Android.

Oracle filed its lawsuit against Google in 2010, claiming that the company illegally used 11,500 lines of Java code in its Android operating system, violating copyrights owned by Oracle.

However, a federal jury of ten people concluded Thursday that Google’s use of Java constituted “Fair Use” under US copyright law and delivered a verdict in favor of Google.

The case was a big deal as the court decision could have the potential to change the way future apps are written for the Android operating system that is being used by almost 80% of the world’s mobile devices.

Oracle, who owns Java, had been seeking $9 Billion in damages for the use of application programming interfaces (APIs), which govern how code communicates with other bits of code.

However, Google argued that the Java APIs in question were necessary for software innovation, allowing different apps to talk to each other, and, therefore, couldn’t be copyrighted.

Google almost won the initial lawsuit in 2012, but a Federal court reversed the decision in 2014 in Oracle’s favor. Google reached out to the US Supreme Court to take the case, but Supreme Court declined to hear Google’s appeal.

Now, the verdict that was reached after three days of deliberations marked a victory for Google after the jury found that the company’s use of the code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the Java APIs in the Android was a fair use.

Oracle, of course, said it will appeal to the US Supreme Court.

“We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market,” Oracle lawyer Dorian Daley said in a statement.

“Oracle brought this lawsuit to put a stop to Google’s illegal behavior. We believe there are numerous grounds for appeal and we plan to bring this case back to the federal circuit on appeal.”

Unsurprisingly, Google called the verdict “a win for the Android ecosystem” as well as for “software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products.”

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