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Oracle V. Google Part Deux: The Copyright Appeal
Oracle has filed an appeal in its unsuccessful copyright and patent case against Google involving the Java programming language (specifically Java APIs). Oracle acquired Java when it bought Sun Microsystems several years ago.
At trial, Oracle was basically shut out on all its claims. It appears that Oracle is only appealing the copyright portion of the case.
The jury originally did find copyright infringement by Google, but also found that Google’s selective use of Java in the Android OS constituted “fair use.” Fair use is a defense against infringement. The judge in the case, William Alsup, also later determined that Oracle could not copyright, as a matter of law, most of the Java code that Google actually used.
Oracle sought $1 billion damages from Google when the case was originally filed in 2010. However, the company essentially got nothing. Monday, Oracle filed its appeal with the US Circuit Court of Appeals. It may take well over a year for the appeal to run its course.
If the appellate court affirms the lower court decision (in favor of Google), Oracle could potentially appeal to the US Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court has discretion not to hear the case. Regardless, any decision at the appellate court level will have implications for software developers and the broader market, especially if the lower court’s decision is upheld.
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