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US Supreme Court to hear decade-long copyright case between Oracle and Google

By Astha Joshi-


A decade-long legal battle between tech giants Oracle and Google is all set to reach the US Supreme Court.

In 2010, Oracle had filed a lawsuit to seek USD 9 billion from Google over its use of Java code.

An appeals court in 2018 had disagreed with the previous jury trials that determined Google’s “software interface” did not use the code by any unfair means. The dissent from the appeals court said that the software interface is entitled to copyright protection. However, it provoked Google to approach the highest court.

In 2010, Oracle had bought the rights to Java with the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, which had assisted Google in its use of Java programming for Android.

The argument in defence from Google and other Silicon Valley allies is that it would become difficult to program if copyright protection is extended to API (Application Programming Interface). Google observed that a win for Oracle would mean to “upend the longstanding expectation of software developers that they are free to use existing computer software interfaces to build new programs.”

There are reasonable and justifiable concerns that are raised on both sides. However, the judgment will have huge implications on copyright-related matters in this era.

The decision by the bench comprising eight judges instead of nine due to the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is likely to be notified within several weeks or months.