Google prevails over Oracle in Java copyright trial


After a two-week long jury trial, the culmination of a years long legal spat that started in 2010, Google has prevailed over Oracle regarding the use of Java in the Android operating system. A unanimous jury verdict held that Google’s use of Java API’s was protected by fair-use provisions of copyright law. Oracle has indicated they plan to appeal the trial results.

The latest trial between the two tech giants over the use of Java in Android comes after a 2012 jury trial ended with a deadlocked jury. Subsequent to that first trial, U.S. District Judge William Alsup determined that the parts of Java in question were not eligible for copyright protection. However, an appellate ruling reversed that finding granting copyright protection to the Java APIs.

That ruling forced the issue back into the courtroom where Google resorted to what Oracle characterized as the “fair-use excuse” regarding their use of the copyrighted code. Despite Oracle’s efforts to paint Google’s use of the code as improper, the jury ultimately decided after three days of deliberations that fair-use was a valid defense.

In a statement after the trial concluded, Google said “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.”

Meanwhile, Oracle’s general counsel Dorian Daley said, “we strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market. 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.”

Oracle had sought $9 billion from Google over the use of the Java APIs.

source: Reuters, Ars Technica

About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a MINI Cooper, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three mostly grown kids and a golden retriever.