Google’s won another major victory, today, in the courtrooms where Oracle are suing them for patent and copyright infringement due to Java’s use in Android. Oracle lost the patent phase of the case, and they thought they’d initially get a break on the copyright phase as they were able to get the jury to agree that Google infringed on the structure, sequence, and organization of their Java APIs.
Of the 37 APIs that Google were accused of “stealing,” Judge William Alsup found that 97% were written by Google, and 3% were freely replicable under a doctrine of merger. Alsup stated that allowing Oracle to pursue people for using code that does the same thing, but in a different implementation, would mean that Oracle gets too much control over what software others write.
In other words, a ruling in Oracle’s favor would essentially mean that an audio playback function in a Java-based app would infringe on code in Java that handles the playback of audio, even if the method used is completely different and original.
That is just an example to clarify what Oracle was seeking, and you can see how ridiculous it would have been for them to be granted such a ruling. But Google doesn’t quite have to worry about that now, and even if Oracle were to file an appeal (which is almost obligatory for the losing side in any major legal process) there’s little reason to believe that another courtroom would see things differently. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes on the case as it continues to brew (no pun intended… OK, maybe a little bit). [via Engadget, Arstechnica, The Verge]