A federal appeals court sided with Oracle in a lawsuit alleging that Google illegally used Oracle’s Java code to build its mobile operating system, Android. The two tech giants have been fighting over the issue for years, and now Google could be owing its rival billions of dollars in compensation.
Google used Oracle’s patented Java programming code to build its own mobile operating system, but it seems to have violated Oracle’s rights. The case, which dates back to 2010, was won by Oracle and now a federal court in California will decide how much Google’s parent company, Alphabet, must shell out. In 2010, Oracle sued Google for $8.8 billion, but the figure could be larger.
Google was disappointed with the decision which could influence the entire app industry. For years, code developers have been arguing that they need to be compensated for their work when their software is used to develop other types of software.
A “Momentous Decision” for the App Industry
App developers, however, have argued that they are using the code under “fair use” terms, so they shouldn’t pay a dime. Copyright laws include fair use as an exception.
It’s a momentous decision on the issue of fair use,
said attorney Mark Schonfeld who was not involved in the case.
Schonfeld believes the case could head to the Supreme Court because the decision is extremely controversial. Google and Oracle have been feuding over the free use of application program interfaces (APIs) for years. APIs are pre-written directions that instruct apps how to perform certain functions. Developers use APIs instead of designing them from scratch for every app they make.
Oracle’s General Counsel Dorian Daley praised the latest decision for protecting developers and consumers alike in the face of abuse. Google, however, is concerned that the ruling would curb the development of new apps as developers will have to pay for APIs and apps will cost more.
Image Source: Flickr