The US Supreme Court will initiate a long-term copyright case between Oracle and Google, it has confirmed today. This causes Google to dispute a controversial statement that could cause a major blow to software development by establishing that companies can refuse access to basic code elements through copyright law. No date has been set for a test.
Oracle has been claiming for years that Google's Android operating system is based on stolen code from the Java software platform. Google claims it has reasonably developed its own alternative to Java code. Lower courts have chosen Google's side, but the Federal Appeal Court has overturned their decisions several times. It is concluded that companies can use API (Copyright Application Programming Interface) packages, which are vital for different software programs to work together, and prevent other companies from using them commercially without a license.
The most recent ruling came in 2018, when the court declared that Google had done it non-fair use of the Java API. Google has filed a petition with the Supreme Court in January 2019, with the request to destroy "a devastating one-two blow in the software industry". Microsoft, Mozilla, and several other companies supported Google's petition and argued that the Federal Circuit ruling would destroy developers' ability to freely build new programs that work with existing software platforms. The Internet interest organizations Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation also came to support Google.
The Oracle and Google dispute lasted nearly ten years. Oracle sued Google after taking over Java owner Sun Microsystems in 2010 because Google had infringed Java copyright and patents. Google definitively won the patent procedure in 2012 and a copyright victory was received shortly thereafter. However, Oracle appealed against that decision, which led to years of legal war between the companies. Google has unsuccessfully asked the Supreme Court to investigate a previous ruling of the Federal Circuit in 2014.
Google's senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, praised the decision. "We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court to review the case and we hope that the Court reaffirms the importance of software interoperability for US competitiveness," Walker said in a statement to The edge. "Developers must be able to create applications on different platforms and not be locked into the software of one company." We have contacted Oracle and are awaiting comments.