Google beats Oracle. Android building issue resolved after 10 years waiting
Rakell initially sought more than $8 billion, but renewed estimates during the case rose from $20 billion to $30 billion.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Google that its use of oracle-owned Java API code elements to build an Android operating system does not violate federal copyright law.
« Copying the API to re-implement the user interface, taking what is required only to allow users to put their accumulated talents to work on a new and transformative program, is a fair use of this material, » the Supreme Court said in its ruling.
The lawsuit accused Google of theft by copying 11,330 lines of Java code, as well as the way it is organized to create Android and generate billions of dollars in revenue.
Oracle wants to enforce copyright on those lines of software in the Android database, which represents 37 separate API.
The Supreme Court overturned an earlier federal ruling that found Google’s use of the API to be a violation and unfair use under United States copyright law.
The Supreme Court’s opinion concluded that APIs that allow programmers access to other code differed significantly from other types of software.
« Allowing Oracle to impose copyright on copied software lines harms the public by limiting the future creativity of new software, » Justice Stephen Breyer said.
The resolution aims to focus particularly on APIs as a category, and that fair use can play an important role in determining the legal scope of software copyright.
Google and Oracle have been struggling to make a ruling in their favor since Oracle filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in 2010 over java’s interactive operation in Android, which has extended into three separate courts and appeals.
Google appealed a 2018 ruling to revive the case, which would prevent Google from paying potentially serious damages.
Oracle initially sought more than $8 billion, but renewable estimates rose from $20 billion to $30 billion.
Google said it did not copy Java, but used elements of Java code needed to operate the platform, and federal copyright law does not protect operating methods.
The two companies explained that a ruling against them would harm innovation, as Google said « the shortcut orders copied in Android help developers write software to work across platforms, which is key to software innovation and the information age, » while Oracle said that « developers will not create new software and they know they are stealing. »