Google wins its Java case against Oracle (again), saves billions in fees — for now
The jury agreed that Google's use of Java APIs was "Fair Use" under copyright law.
Oracle was seeking roughly $9 billion in licensing fees and damages from Google for the use of Java APIs in Android. However, earlier today, a jury found that Google’s use of Java constituted “Fair Use” under US copyright law.
Fair Use is a defense to a claim of copyright infringement. Usually, it is invoked when copyrighted work is used for educational, journalistic, creative, satirical or selected other purposes. The jury verdict was reportedly unanimous.
If this story feels like deja vu, that’s because this was a retrial of a portion of the same litigation that originally took place in 2012. Google won a total victory against Oracle the first time around.
In 2010, Oracle sued Google for patent and copyright infringement and other claims. Google prevailed, and the judge in the original trial said that the Java APIs used by Google could not be copyrighted.
Oracle appealed the copyright issue and won in 2014. The verdict today was based on a retrial of the copyright claim in the wake of the appellate court ruling. As indicated, the jury decided in favor of Google — finding that there was copyright infringement but that the infringement was permissible under Fair Use.
Oracle has already indicated it will appeal. The following is a statement provided to Fortune:
We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market. Oracle brought this lawsuit to put a stop to Google’s illegal behavior. We believe there are numerous grounds for appeal and we plan to bring this case back to the Federal Circuit on appeal.
If Oracle wins again on appeal, the case could eventually wind up before the US Supreme Court.