Mobile and Wireless: Oracle vs. Google: The Curious Fate of a Tangled Case on Java APIs

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-05-07 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What a tangled Web of litigation, close friends, enemies, software licensing, open-source interpretation and intrigue this case proved to be. A jury in Federal District Court for Northern California in San Francisco delivered a partial victory for Oracle by determining that Google had violated Oracle's copyrights related to Java language APIs used to develop the Android mobile operating system. But the Jury failed to reach a verdict on the essential question of whether or not Google had made "fair use" of the APIs and was therefore protected at least partially from liability. As a result, a trial that supposedly had the potential to set a major standard in software development law ended in a muddle that only further court decisions can resolve. At the copyright and patent trial in federal court, which began April 16, Oracle charged Google with stealing 37 APIs in its Java software suite to help build the highly successful Android mobile device operating system. Oracle is seeking about $1 billion in damages and a possible injunction against Google using the software. In only four years, Android has become the most popular mobile operating system for smartphones and other mobile devices in the world. Android, released in 2008 by Google to partners such as Samsung, HTC and other manufacturers for smartphones and tablet PCs, now runs on more than 300 million mobile devices. Google believes that with this litigation, Oracle is unjustly trying to horn in on the profits from the OS. Here, eWEEK highlights the key figures and data points thus far in the trial, which is expected to continue into June with deliberations on the separate patent infringement issues in the case.
 
 
 

A Case That Was Supposed to Legally Define APIs

At the copyright and patent trial in federal court in San Francisco, which began April 16, Oracle charged Google with stealing 37 key parts of its Java software suite to help build its highly successful Android mobile device operating system. Oracle is seeking about $1 billion in damages and a possible injunction against Google using the software. The case may be a landmark in deciding if application programming interfaces (APIs) are copyrightable.
A Case That Was Supposed to Legally Define APIs
 
 
 
 
 
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date
Rocket Fuel