Court Hands the Victory over to Google


U.S District Judge William Alsup, Northern District of California decided in favor of Google Inc. on Thursday. The case was regarding copyrights relating to Java language. He dismissed all claims by Oracle Corporation that Google’s android mobile phone platform was infringing the copyrights of Java computer language.

Oracle laid charges on Google that the latter’s android platform was breaching the copyright on “structure, sequence and organization” of 37 Java application programming interfacing and packages. There were 166 Java packages being claimed in the copyright suit launched by Oracle against Google. It was discovered that 129 of these packages were not at all involved in the android programs. The 37 remaining were found to be used only minimal up to 3%.

The court ruling comprised a 41 page judgment deciding that Google used only those Java components which did not fall under copyright law and were free to use. Jury’s conclusion was Google did not have to face damages because of deadlock on fair-usage question.

Judge Alsup wrote, “So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the copyright act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API.”

The findings were that 97 percent of the lines of the software used in the android were exclusively written by Google while the remaining 3 percent were only functional and operational lines. The Judge though made it a note that not all Java API packages were free to use by everybody. He made a point that “the structure, sequence and organization of all computer programs cannot be stolen or used without a license.”

Google expressed a thrilled response over the decision. Keker and Van Nest represented this case from Google’s side. Robert Van Nest, the lead lawyer, when reached on Thursday, responded, “It is a thorough treatment of fact and a searching treatment of the law and its consistent with the evidence which was presented at the trial and the briefing that was filed alongside the evidence.”

Google  issued an official statement quoted as, “The court’s decision upholds the principle that open and interoperable computer languages form an essential basis for software development. It’s a good day for collaboration and innovation.”

The suit was originally filed by Oracle in August 2011 in U.S District Court in San Francisco claiming that Oracle got the copyrights and patents from Sun Microsystems in 2010 and Google’s android system had infringed its copyrighted Java interface. If won, Oracle could claim $6 billion in lawsuit.

Deborah Helllinger is the official spokesperson of Oracle. Her email hinted on Oracle’s intentions to appeal on the case. “This ruling, if permitted to stand, would undermine the protection for innovation and invention in the United States and make it far more difficult to defend intellectual property rights against companies anywhere in the world that simply takes them as their own.”

Edward Naughton has been following the case referred the District Judge’s decision as a careful one. “It’s something that I think students are going to be reading in copyright classes for a long time to come. The judge was careful to base this on the facts of the case in front of him and tried to avoid sweeping decisions.”

The ruling was received very positively by the IT industry. They were all afraid that the Judge might rule to apply the decision to all Java APIs.

Oracle had a positive result in their favor on a few minor issues. After the rangecheck method, it was found that Google was infringing only nine lines of the code. Google may face an amount for damages up to $300,000. For Google, this is not anything to get upset, so they are happy with the decision.

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