Oracle asks US Supreme Court to reject Android copyright case

The outcome could affect how programmers can use software APIs

Oracle is trying to make sure its billion-dollar copyright dispute with Google over the Android OS doesn't make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The companies have been battling for years over whether Google infringed Oracle's copyright when it lifted programming interfaces from Java for use in its Android mobile OS.

There's a lot of money at stake, with Oracle seeking at least US$1 billion for the alleged infringement. Some programmers are also watching the case, believing the outcome will affect their freedom to use other software APIs (application programming interfaces).

Oracle sued Google in district court four years ago, but it lost the case based on a decisive ruling by the presiding judge. This year an appeals court overturned that ruling, so Google asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Oracle wants to make sure that doesn't happen.

"To hold unprotectable the thousands of lines of code Google copied would strip all code of copyright protection," Oracle told the Supreme Court Monday, urging it to let the appeals court decision stand.

Google has argued that it had no choice but to copy parts of Java when it developed Android, because Java was already popular and programmers needed the familiar APIs to write Java programs. Such "functional" code isn't even eligible for protection under U.S. copyright law, Google said.

That's the central question Google wants the Supreme Court to decide. But Oracle says the law is already clear.

"There is no dispute that Google was free to write its own code to perform the same functions as Oracles," it's lawyers wrote. "Instead, it plagiarized."

The Supreme Court doesn't agree to hear all cases, only those where it thinks it can settle an important point of law. If it declines to hear the case, it may be sent back to the district court for another trial. If it accepts the case, programmers will be watching to see the implications for copyright and APIs.

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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Android OSGoogleintellectual propertycopyrightCivil lawsuitslegalOracle

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?