Oracle is one of the largest, most popular technology company in the United States of America, let alone the entire world. Just like all other major players worth their weight in salt in the field of technology, Oracle owns several patents, one of which is for the popular software Java.
Android is a mobile operating system used by hundreds of millions of smartphones around the world. It was developed by Google, and is also owned by the company.
Way back in 2010, Oracle filed a lawsuit that claimed Google infringed on its Java copyrights to improve the performance of Android. Finally, a whopping eight years later, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit published a ruling on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, that it agreed with Oracle that Google had improperly used Oracle’s Java to wrongfully make its product better.
The case could prove substantial for the world of fair use, a provision in United States law that allows people to use others’ productions – we typically see fair use used in the sharing of music and movies – without owing anything to the entities that created them. Fair use has been a major topic of concern among technology companies, and this ruling between tech giants Google and Oracle could spread far-reaching effects across not only Silicon Valley, but the entire country at large.
According to Mark Schonfeld, an attorney at Boston’s Burns & Levinson, shared with Bloomberg that “[The ruling} is a momentous decision on the issue of fair use.” He also stated that he believed the case would be entered into the Supreme Court, as Schonfeld expressed his professional belief that the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals “made a very controversial decision.”
So what happened in this case, anyways?
APIs, or application program interfaces, are sets of directions that are written ahead of time, saving programmers time and typically reducing instances of bugs. These interfaces are most commonly utilized when people access the world wide web or open particular kinds of digital files.
Google believes, as many independent experts believe, as well, that the ruling made on Tuesday will unarguably jack up the price of software and technology hardware for consumers, potentially stifling business.
Oracle was all smiles, as the company’s General Counsel Dorian Daley claimed that “This decision protects creators and consumers from the unlawful abuse of their rights.”
Google is certain to advance the case in Supreme Court. But will it be selected?