The U.S. Supreme Court has held Google in a $ 9 billion fight with Oracle
The U.S. Supreme Court has given Google victory in a major case for the technology industry, ruling that it did not break the law when it copied Oracle’s software interfaces for use on the Android smartphone operating system.
The decision is over legal struggle more than a decade ago, which resulted in $ 9 billion in damages. The case also raised fundamental issues affecting the balance of power between established platforms and new competitors in the software industry.
Justice was decided by Google by a six or two majority, with Conservatives Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito disagreeing. That was the case listen previously Amy Coney Barrett, appointed by former President Donald Trump, entered court.
According to the decision, when Google used more than 11,000 lines of Oracle code in the early days of the phone industry that protected “fair use,” its Android operating system was widely used to make it compatible with Java software. Acquired by Oracle.
Using portions of the Java code called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) made it easier for Java developers to adapt existing programs to run on Android – a big advantage for Google in competing with Apple’s smartphone.
This copying has long been common in the technology industry, as companies often try to make their new software compatible with the most commonly used technologies.
Google wanted to side with new competitors, saying the freedom to copy interfaces was important in trying to compete with powerful technology platforms. The case claimed by Oracle and its supporters showed how powerful companies like Google steal code and have the legal power to crack down on challenges.
“The Google platform has gone up and the market power is higher,” Oracle said after the loss. He added that the case showed “exactly why regulatory authorities around the world and the United States are examining Google’s business practices.”
Pamela Samuelson, a professor of law and information management at the University of California, Berkeley, said the decision showed that there would be far more than two tech giants and that the court had a profound impact on the entire software world. The ruling made it clear that a large portion of the value of software interfaces was created by the many developers who took them and used them, which should not be limited, he said.
The investment programmers learning the interface meant that “enforcing Oracle copyright here would cause harm to people,” according to a Supreme Court ruling written by Judge Stephen Breyer. As a result, “a block would be achieved that would limit the future creativity of new programs. Only Oracle would have the key.”
Google’s defense was two-sided. He argued that it was protected through direct use, which allows limited use of copyrighted material, but said that interfaces should not have the legal protection that most computer codes cover, as they are considered a key “operating method” as a driver in a car wheel.
In making a fair use decision, the judges ruled that Google used “only the lines of code necessary for programmers to put their created talents to work in a new and transformative program.”
When deciding whether the interfaces are copyrighted, the decision left the key issue open. Some developers have warned that most companies cannot afford the cost and uncertainty of mounting a long-term “fair use” defense.
However, Samuelson said the Supreme Court has strengthened the defendants ’stance by clearly stating that the decision on fair use was based on a direct account, rather than anything related to the facts of the case.
This means that defendants may in the future request a summary judgment through the court on fair use, rather than face a lengthy trial by the jury, he said.