In late 2009, Google dismissed copyright laws when it used Oracle’s open-source Java software to build its wildly successful Android platform. The software and service developer immediately took Google to court. After an eight-year legal battle, it appears the claim will be ruled in Oracle’s favor and Google will be forced to pay $8.8 billion for violating copyright laws.
Oracle’s compensation would only be a fraction of what Android has provided Google as Android has made more than $42 billion from advertising. While Oracle is seeking $8.8 billion from Android’s maker, Google is fighting on the grounds that “this type of ruling will make apps and online services more expensive for users.” Oracle’s APIs are, in fact, available to computer and mobile app developers free of charge but not to companies trying to build competing platforms or wanting to embed them.
Initial rulings favored Google, with one six years ago determining that Oracle’s Java was not protected by copyright law. Oracle filed an appeal and in 2014, the Appeals Court overturned the ruling in favor of Oracle. On Tuesday, a Federal Circuit judge panel declared that “there is nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform.”
At this juncture, Google could ask the judge panel to reconsider their verdict or present their case in front of all the judges of the court. If Google’s request is granted, the final possible venue for appeals would be the Supreme Court. At that point, both parties would have to accept the ruling of the court.