Supreme Court Rules in Google's Favor in Oracle Copyright Case
This might finally put an end to the year-long Oracle / Google slugfest.
Google and Oracle have been battling in court for years over the claim that the Android mobile OS violates Oracle copyright. Back in 2019, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear Google's appeal of a federal appeals court ruling that Android violated Oracle copyright by using unlicensed Java code, and today the Court has made a decision. The Supreme Court just ruled 6-2 in favor of Google, a decision that should overturn the earlier decision.
The introduction to the decision says that "Google’s copying of the Java SE API, which included only those lines of code that were needed to allow programmers to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program, was a fair use of that material as a matter of law."
This back-and-forth has been ongoing for years. Originally, a jury found in Google's favor, saying its usage of the Java code was considered "fair use." But in 2018, the Federal Court of Appeals overturned that decision, ruling that Google did indeed violate Oracle's trademarks; that decision would have sent the case back to a California court to determine how much Google's parent company Alphabet would owe Oracle. But the Supreme Court decided to hear Google's appeal, and now it seems this might finally exhaust Oracle's avenues for getting compensation from this legal battle. The Supreme Court had previously decided against weighing in on the case, but that was back in 2015.
Oracle provided the following statement from Dorian Daley, the company's executive VP and general counsel: “The Google platform just got bigger and market power greater. The barriers to entry higher and the ability to compete lower. They stole Java and spent a decade litigating as only a monopolist can. This behavior is exactly why regulatory authorities around the world a
d in the United States are examining Google's business practices.”
We've reached out to Google for comment and will update this story if we hear anything.
Update, 11:15AM ET: Added statement from Oracle.