Google defeats Oracle in Java code copyright case

Google defeats Oracle in Java code copyright case

A federal court in San Francisco ruled that Google's use of Java was covered by "fair use".

The dispute between the two companies occurred when Google used some Java programming to create Android, which has become one of the world's leading mobile software.

The outcome of the court battle has been watched closely by other software developers.

Oracle filed the case against Google in 2010 after it bought Sun Microsystems. Oracle says Google has earned $21 billion in profit from Android-based smartphones.

Google and other Silicon Valley players however are rejoicing at the decision. Google did try to arrive at a deal with Sun to use the APIs, yet those deals fell apart and Google made a decision to use the APIs anyway.

Oracle sued Google at the California district court in 2010 claiming patent and copyright infringement. The only argument Google could make in the latest trial was that the 37 APIs were included as "fair use".

"Each judgment at the district court level can be appealed", explained University of Pennsylvania intellectual property law professor R. Polk Wagner by email. However, the jury couldn't agree whether it was justified under the fair use legal doctrine. However, if Oracle had won, codes would have become licensed and companies would most likely have to pay to use those codes. "It's undisputed. They took the code, they copied it, and put it right into Android", said Bricks.

Oracle was believed to be seeking up to $9 billion in damages and the trial judge prepped attorneys from both sides on the inevitable appeal to come.

Google said it used an insignificant amount of Java code while developing Android, making it fair use. But with a finding of no liability, Google will owe no damages. Oracle said it saw many premises to appeal and would do so.

Judge William Alsup, who also presided over Oracle's copyright case against Google, frequently praised the jury for its thoughtful approach to this case.

The case could result in the largest copyright verdict in USA history.

Oracle, however, is not backing down following the verdict.

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