In 2010, Oracle sued Google for alleged infringement of Java during Android’s development. Appeal courts have repeatedly reversed lower court decisions on Google’s side. In what might be a landmark decision, this legal case is now going to the Supreme Court.
This case dates back nine years ago to Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems ‘ Java developers. After the takeover, the new language owners sued and argued that the use of Java by Android entitled them to a $8.8 billion slice of the business of the operating system and $475 million lost potential revenue from licensing.
A jury found in 2016 that the use of declaring code by Google — and Java APIs ‘ structure, sequence, and organization — was fair use. However, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals found that Google violated Oracle’s copyright.
Google appealed to the Supreme Court in January, and the courts today issued a certiorari letter to review the last appeal. The company argued that the twin reversals of lower court rulings have “far-reaching impact on innovation across the computer industry.”
Google’s argument is shared by many other tech companies, academics, and non-profit organizations who fear that an Oracle victory might have a broad, chilling effect on the industry’s software development. The Supreme Court is expected to reach next year’s decision on Google v. Oracle. No date has been set for the court.