SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON: Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US) won an important case against Google relating to the use of unauthorized Java code in its Operating System Android and plans to sue them for $1 Billion in damages . On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington ruled the case in favor of Oracle, stating that Oracle can indeed copyright the Java’s APIs.
The circuit judge Kathleen O’Malley wrote for the three-judge panel that “A set of commands to instruct a computer to carry out desired operations may contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection. An original work – even one that serves a function – is entitled to copyright protection as long as the author had multiple ways to express the underlying idea.”
The case which has been going on since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystem in 2010 had initially been in favor of Google, when the San Francisco court ruled that Java is considered to be open source and Google had the rights to use the claimed code in its operating System. But Oracle took the case to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Washington, claiming that Java is intended to be free only for developers and not for applications of commercial use. Google’s Android OS clearly falls under the latter category. This current result reverses the decision by San Francisco ruling and points to Oracle that they can go ahead and claim copyright for certain Java codes. It is to be noted that initially Oracle sued Google for $6.1 Billion in damages in 2010 and it has come down to just $1 Billion now.
In this particular case, Oracle found supporters in the form of Microsoft, NetApp, EMC and other software giants and upon this result, the software companies considers it a victory for the software industry as a whole.Oracle General Counsel Dorian Daley, in an emailed statement, said the giant is “extremely pleased that the Federal Circuit denied Google’s attempt to drastically limit copyright protection for computer code. 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.”
Obviously, the ruling does not come as a favor to Google as one Google’s spokesperson expressed his displeasure in a statement,” We’re disappointed by this ruling, which sets a damaging precedent for computer science and software development, and are considering our options”.
This means that Google might be inclined to take the matters to the Supreme court to try and reverse the ruling, but according to Intellectual property expert Mueller, the rulings of the Federal Circuit court is as good as Supreme court and is absolutely consistent.