Monday, 06 July 2015 09:35

Supreme Court rejects Google appeal in Oracle Java case Featured

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Google's bid to appeal the verdict in its case against Oracle over Java has failed, with the US Supreme Court rejecting the same.

While Oracle claimed victory, the matter continues to drag on with the Supreme Court sending the case back to the lower courts to determine whether Google's use of code from Java in Android — the search giant has since stopped using said code — would be covered by the fair use doctrine.

Google won the original case against Oracle, which was filed by the latter in 2010. The trial began on April 16, 2012, and in the first phase, the jury concluded that while Google was guilty of copyright violation, it could not decide whether this was covered by the principle of fair use or not.

The second phase of the trial, dealing with patents, went decisively in favour of Google, with the jury concluding that Oracle's patents were in no way violated. In the final phase of the trial, the presiding judge, Justice William Alsup ruled that APIs were not copyrightable.

Oracle did not take this lying down and appealed. In May 2014, an appeals court reversed the ruling, saying that Oracle could indeed copyright parts of Java. A three-judge panel ruled that APIs can be copyrighted, a finding in direct opposition to that which was rendered by Judge William Alsup in June 2012.

Google then appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court.

In the original case, Oracle had accused Google of copying Java application programming interface (API) designs into the APIs of its Android mobile operating system; basing Android class libraries on Java API designs; and copying from Java code into Android code.

It had also alleged that Google had violated its patents – seven were originally cited, but five were overturned before the trial, and only two were considered during the trial.

Image courtesy Oracle Corporation

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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