Oracle may get new chance to show Google infringed on Java copyrights
Oracle's appeal of high-profile federal court ruling in the Android lawsuit was heard this week
IDG News Service - Oracle's copyright case against Google's Android OS appeared to gain new life this week after a federal appeals court judge poked holes in Google's defense.
A U.S. District Court judge in California ruled last year that Oracle's Java APIs can't be covered by copyright law because they are a functional requirement for writing compatible applications, not creative works.
The appeals court this week seemed to take issue with Judge William Alsup's ruling.
"It seems to me that almost all computer code has to have a functional purpose, otherwise what's the purpose," said Judge S. Jay Plager at the hearing, a recording of which was made public late Wednesday. "You don't write computer code because it has some pretty, expressive phrasing. You write it because it has a function."
Oracle sued Google in 2010, claiming that Google's Android OS infringed patents and copyrights for Java that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems.
Google wanted to attract Java developers to its Android OS, so it took "the most important, the most memorable, the most appealing pieces of Java" and incorporated them into Android, Oracle attorney Josh Rosenkranz during the hearing Wednesday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
Some observers believe the outcome of the case could have a big impact on the software industry. Although Alsup specified his ruling wasn't meant to apply to all APIs, the decision has been praised by observers who say a decision in Oracle's favor would set a bad precedent by inhibiting innovation in the software industry. In June, more than 30 computer scientists signed an amicus brief arguing that point.
The case has divided the industry though, with software vendors such as Microsoft and EMC filing briefs in support of Oracle. Software vendors can't create new products if their work isn't protected, they argued.
The appeals court should reverse the lower court's decision on copyright as well as address "whether fair use [of the APIs] can be decided as a matter of law," Rosenkranz said. Oracle has suffered "extraordinary" economic harm due to Android's success and "the use simply cannot be fair."
In the original case, the jury deadlocked on the question of fair use before Alsup's subsequent ruling on copyright.
A discussion of the differences between APIs and other types of code led to a back-and-forth between Google attorney Robert Van Nest and Judge Kathleen O'Malley.
Under the law, "the thing that runs the program, rather than the program itself, or the tool that accesses the program, rather than the program itself, that is not copyrightable," Van Nest said.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Three Best Practices to Help Government Agencies Overcome BYOD Challenges This paper highlightschallenges facing government IT in a BYOD environment and discusses strategies for network preparation, ongoing support, and securing information to enable...
- Review: Box beats Dropbox - and all the rest - for business Box trumps Dropbox, Engyte, Citrix ShareFile, EMC Syncplicity, and OwnCloud with rich mix of file sync, file sharing, user management, deep reporting and...
- Analyst Report-Mixed All Flash Arrays Delivers Safer Higher Performance What is the impact of an all-flash array with enterprise features and reliability on the mainstream data center? In the mainstream environment, storage...
- Embracing Flash Storage Exec Brief Flash storage can deliver impressive performance, especially for random I/O, by eliminating rotational and seek latencies that are common in all hard disk...
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...
All Legal White Papers |