Oracle wants copyright claims to remain in Google suit

Says APIs for software like Java are eligible for protection

Oracle said that no court has ever found that APIs for software like Java are ineligible for copyright protection, in its objection to Google's request that the court make a summary judgment on Oracle's copyright allegations.

In early August, Google asked the judge in its ongoing dispute with Oracle to rule that Google doesn't infringe Oracle copyright in its implementation of Android. In an objection to that request, Oracle asked the judge to let the charge go to trial.

"No court has ever found that the APIs [application programming interfaces] for a complex software platform like Java are ineligible for copyright protection," Oracle wrote.

At issue is whether it matters that Google copies Java code, Oracle wrote. "Google does not dispute the copying. But the parties have a factual dispute over its significance," Oracle said.

Google has argued that some files it copied from Java are insignificant because they are test files. But Oracle says they are not, and further that even if they were, "test files are significant too."

Oracle also disputes Google's argument that it had to copy code because there wasn't other language it could use. "Google's copying of the names of 37 packages, 458 classes, 158 Interfaces, 2,427 methods, 893 fields, and other elements did not come about due to the existence of limited language," Oracle wrote.

Oracle also points out that Google's actions fragmented Java, "severely undercutting Java's 'write once, run anywhere' promise."

"Despite its claim that its copying was required for compatibility, the reality is Google took only the parts it wanted and created many other, incompatible APIs for Android. As a result, many programs written in Java for other platforms will not run on Android, and many programs written for Android will not run on Java platforms and devices," Oracle wrote.

"This case is not about Google creating a compatible platform. It is about Google picking and choosing some Java APIs, but not others, knowing it would create an incompatible platform," it wrote.

Also, Oracle noted that Google itself essentially asserts copyright on its own software. "Notably, Google requires its OEMs to maintain the full set of Android APIs -- including the 37 APIs it copied from Oracle ─ to prevent fragmentation of the Android platform," it wrote. Android's license is similar to Java's, Oracle said.

Google now will have a chance to submit further statements supporting its request for summary judgment.

In a separate exhibit filed over the weekend, Oracle's chief corporate architect, Edward Screven, said that Google's actions have closed the door on any possibility of Oracle entering the mobile market.

When asked during a deposition if Oracle had a strategy for succeeding in the smartphone market or with a mobile platform, he said: "I think Android has basically foreclosed that. I don't believe that there is a strategy that we could adopt at this point, right, to displace Android given that they've sucked all the air out of the room for Java on smartphones."

"Java, you know, is, in my mind, pretty well locked out of the smartphone market because of Android," he said later in the deposition.

Late last week, the judge denied some additional requests from Google to file for summary judgment but allowed others. A jury trial in the case, initially filed late last year in the U.S. District Court for the District of California, is scheduled for Oct. 31.

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Tags copyrightOracleGooglejavasoftwareAPIapplication programming interfaces

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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