Finally, Oracle’s nearly eight-year-long battle with Google has just reached the end. Recently, a federal appeals court has ruled that Google has violated Oracle’s copyrights when it had built a custom version of the Java platform for its Android operating system. After this, the court has sent the case back to a district court to decide on how much Google should pay to Oracle. But even after this, Google can always appeal to the Supreme Court. After this, the final outcome would not only affect Google and Oracle but in fact the entire software industry.
Thus, in what could have easily changed the dynamics of software development by tech giants, an appeals court in the US has ruled that Google has violated copyright laws when it used Oracle’s open-source Java software to build the Android platform.
To be more specific, CNNMoney cited the saying of the ruling panel comprising of three Federal Circuit judges, which read like, “There is nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform”.
This is definitely quite a striking one as the ruling comes nearly eight years after Oracle accused Google of copyright infringement.
Claiming that it should receive $475 million in damages in addition to $8.8 billion relating to “profits apportioned to infringed Java copyrights”, Oracle had accused Google of illegally copying a key part of the Java platform into its Android operating system.
The Cloud major had also claimed that Google made billions in profit for the search engine giant and thus impeding Java’s chance of success in smartphones, tablets, and other products.
To look back, initially, Java was developed by tech firm Sun Microsystems, which was later acquired by Oracle in 2010.
However, in their justification, Google argued that its use of Java is protected by the legal doctrine of “fair use”, which permits copying in some circumstances.
In 2012, the companies took the issue to court but the jury couldn’t decide then whether Google used Java application programming interfaces (APIs) fairly.
Two years later, an appeals court overturned the ruling and raised the question on Google’s “fair use” of Oracle’s technology.
Again, in 2016, it was ruled that Google’s use of Oracle’s APIs was legal under the copyright law’s fair use doctrine, “which allows the free use of copyrighted material under specific circumstances”.
Oracle then appealed to this the decision and the jury ruled in favor of the Cloud major on Tuesday. Now, when Oracle sees the ruling as the “decision that protects creators and consumers”, Google added that it could appeal to the full slate of judges on the court.
In fact, a Google spokesperson was also quoted saying that, “We are disappointed the court reversed the jury finding that Java is open and free for everyone. This type of ruling will make apps and online services more expensive for users. We are considering our options”.
Finally, according to CNNMoney, another court would decide how much Google owes Oracle. As of 2016, Oracle was seeking $9.3 billion in damages from the tech giant.