US Supreme Court denies Google request in Java infringement case

Oracle can charge licensing fees for Java on Android after the court's decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request from Google to hear a case in which it was accused of infringing Oracle copyrights by using Java in its Android mobile operating system.

In a huge victory for Oracle, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Google's appeal of a May 2014 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In that decision, the appeals court ruled that Java APIs used by Google were covered by copyright. The Supreme Court decision means Oracle, which purchased Java developer Sun Microsystems in 2010, can charge licensing fees for Java in Android.

A Google spokesman, in an email, said the company will "continue to defend the interoperability that has fostered innovation and competition in the software industry."

The long-running case dates back to August 2010, when Oracle sued Google for copyright and patent infringement. Oracle had attempted to sign a Java licensing deal with Google, but the two sides didn't reach an agreement.

In May 2012, a jury in a district court in San Francisco found that Google's Android operating system did not infringe Oracle's Java patents. The following month, Oracle agreed to accept zero damages for outstanding copyright infringement claims.

The appeals court then partially overturned the district court decision.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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