Google vs Oracle: A victory for Google, Jury Says Google’s Use of Oracle’s Java APIs Is Fair Use


Mumbai : In a much-awaited decision, a jury in California's Northern District federal court declared on Friday that Google's use of copyright-protected code in Android was a fair one and freed the tech giant of any liability. The Google vs Oracle dispute revolves around Oracle’s Java API packages. These packages were made available to software developers through a license. Google incorporated 37 of these API packages in its Android operating system without a license from Oracle. Hence, the copyright infringement suit followed in 2010. The outcome of this case will have far-reaching implications not just for Google but for software development in general.

Global software major Oracle, which controls the copyright on the code, had sought $9 billion for the use of the code, accusing Google of software copyrights infringement, technology website The Verge reported. Oracle claimed that it should receive $475 million in damages in addition to $8.8 billion relating to "profits apportioned to infringed Java copyrights" and crushing Java's chance of success in smartphones, tablets and other products.

The two companies have been at odds over whether Google improperly used so-called APIs (application programming interfaces) related to the Java programming language to create its Android operating system. Oracle said that Google has not paid the company for its use of Java which was developed by tech company Sun Microsystems acquired by Oracle in 2010.

Back in 2012, the companies took the issue to court but the jury was unable to determine whether Google used Java APIs fairly. In April, Oracle CEO Safra Catz and Google's chief executive Sundar Pichai attended the talks in a court in April for six hours and discussed the lawsuit that Oracle had filed, however, they failed to make any settlements.

Google had been denying any wrongdoing and 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 was unable to determine whether Google used Java application programming interfaces (APIs) fairly. Both Google's Go and Apple's Swift are licensed in a way that would close off the possibility of such a suit in the future, the report added.