Google’s ongoing legal wrangling with Oracle came to a surprising head this morning, as a Judge made a somewhat surprising ruling about Android and Java. While a previous judgement regarding details about fair use of the Java language was upheld, this ruling by a Federal Judge granted Oracle’s appeal that their Java language (or certain aspects of it) can be protected under federal law.
If you’ve not been keeping up, we’ll spitball it for you. Android is written largely in Java, a language spearheaded by Sun Microsystems, then Oracle. Java is not a privately protected language, and as Google pointed out in their original trial, is free to use by anyone. Android was built on Java, Google feels it’s open, and that was believed to be the end of it.
Java is public, but Oracle still feels Google violated some patents held in relation to it. Specific to this case are the “structure, sequence, and organization” of APIs. The original judgement ruled that Java was a fair use case, but the specifics of APIs are now called into question.
In a statement, Oracle’s counsel Dorian Daley said “We are extremely pleased that the Federal Circuit denied Google’s attempt to drastically limit copyright protection for computer code”, adding “the Federal Circuit’s opinion is a win for Oracle and the entire software industry that relies on copyright protection to fuel innovation and ensure that developers are rewarded for their breakthroughs. We are confident that the district court will appropriately apply the fair use doctrine on remand, which is not intended to protect naked commercial exploitation of copyrighted material”.
This ruling allows Oracle to continue their litigation against Google, and deals a heavy blow to Google’s case. Far from over, it does strike a blow to one of the more necessary and useful part of Android, which are APIs. Without them, Android is strikingly limited. Changing them would cause the platform to take a step back, so expect Google to pushback hard on this one.
Source: PC World