Google asks US Supreme Court to decide Android copyright case

The US Supreme Court might weigh in on the extent to which APIs can be protected by copyright

Google has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a copyright infringement case that some developers think could have a big impact on their ability to innovate in software.

The case was brought by Oracle four years ago and accuses Google of infringing patents and copyrights related to Java in its Android mobile OS.

Google emerged largely victorious from a lower court trial but an appeals court overturned that ruling in May. Google now wants the highest court in the U.S. to hear its case.

Android has become the most widely used mobile operating system, but Oracle says Google copied basic elements of Java to develop the OS. It filed its lawsuit against Google four years ago and was seeking US$1 billion in damages for its copyright claims.

Specifically, Oracle says Google copied the structure and organization of the Java APIs (application programming interfaces), in part so that developers already familiar with Java would find it easier to write programs for Android.

Google argued that the APIs shouldn't be protected by copyright because they're required to write compatible programs. The lower court agreed, but the appeals court sided with Oracle and said APIs are creative works that deserve protection like any other.

The search and advertising giant filed its request for the Supreme Court to hear the case earlier this week. The court doesn't accept all cases and it might well decline its request.

Google's filing wasn't immediately available on the Supreme Court's website. Oracle has until Nov. 7 to file its response.

"Early computer companies could have blocked vast amounts of technological development by claiming 95-year copyright monopolies over the basic building blocks of computer design and programming," Google said in its filing, according to a Reuters report.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags application developmentLanguages and standardssmartphonesCivil lawsuitsAndroidlegalsoftwareOracleconsumer electronicsGoogleintellectual propertycopyright

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?