After a two week trail, a federal jury in a California court concluded that Google’s Android operating system does not owe a single penny to Oracle owned Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The re-implementation of 37 Java APIs comes under the “fair use” clause of the law.
“Today’s verdict that Android makes fair use of Java APIs represents a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products,” a Google spokesperson said.
The fight of Oracle with Google started in the year 2010, when Oracle filed a case against Google claiming the use of APIs without permission. After a struggle for long six years, Google won this case which would cost $9 billion if lost. If the case was judged the other way in favor of Oracle, it might have threatened the software developers who re-implement other company products. Well, this case will give clarity to the programmers regarding copyright rules.
Initially the court found that Google does not infringe Oracle but then the twist was, the court’s decision was upturned as an appeals court found APIs are copyrightable. Then the case turned to the concept of Fair use, a law which allows the use of owned material with clauses included. Usually, Developers borrow APIs from other products to ensure compatibility or to make a new product easily understandable.
Mitch Stoltz, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, “Overall, this is a win for software development.” Stoltz mainly focuses on copyright issues. “I think it’ll give software developers a bit more confidence that re-implementing APIs is not something that’s going to get them sued,” Stoltz added.
“We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market,” Oracle’s general counsel Dorian Daley said in a statement. “Oracle brought this lawsuit to put a stop to Google’s illegal behavior. We believe there are numerous grounds for appeal and we plan to bring this case back to the Federal Circuit on appeal.”
The hearing doesn’t indicate the close of case. Well, Oracle has already said that it will soon appeal.