After a lengthy appeal, the Oracle v. Google trial on various Java APIs is headed back to the district court for a new trial. The federal appeals court in this case sided with Oracle, agreeing that the structure, sequence, and organization of the 37 Java APIs in question constituted copyrightable material.
While I still disagree with this on a fundamental level (I'd argue Oracle is merely using copyright as a false shield - it really wants to protect functionality, not form, which copyright does not protect), the Read More
9th Circuit's Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's decision falls in line with the court's reputation as being one of the strongest on intellectual property protection.
In case you forgot, Google was involved in a little spat with Oracle earlier this year, in which a jury decided that Oracle's patents were not infringed by Google, and a judge came to the conclusion that Oracle's assertion regarding API copyright infringement was untenable.
Judge Alsup's reasoning in denying Oracle's infringement claim was, to anyone with a technical background, quite reasonable. Oracle had claimed that while the amount of line-for-line literal infringement Google committed against the 37 infringed Java APIs through its Dalvik virtual machine was minimal (read: 97% of Google's code was original), the fact that Google had copied created its functional equivalent constituted copyright infringement. Read More
We're hearing via The Verge that Judge William Alsup has just handed down his decision on the copyrightability of Oracle's 37 Java API's, asserted by Oracle as having been infringed by Google in the Android operating system. This is probably the most important issue of the entire case. While a jury decided that Google did infringe Oracle's APIs as asserted by Oracle, that decision hinged on the assumption that the APIs were in fact copyrightable in the way Oracle had insisted they were.
Alsup determined that Oracle's API's are not, in fact, copyrightable in their "sequence, structure, and organization," and the related infringement claims against Google have been dismissed. Read More
You've probably already read headlines in the last hour or two proclaiming that Google has "lost" its copyright case against Oracle, and in the strictest sense of the word, it has. Google lost on a number of counts, including the most important one, question one in the jury instructions. It also lost on a count involving nine lines of code that have long-since been removed from Android.
The first question, though, asked the jurors whether Google's use of 37 Java API packages, taken as a group, constituted an infringement of Oracle's copyrighted works. The jury, responding unanimously, answered that question with a "yes." But question 1 contained a part two, and therefore a dependent unanimity requirement (answers on all parts of the question must be unanimous):
Jury instructions via FOSSPatents
If you know anything about copyrights (and if you're on the internet a lot, you probably do know more than most people), you know that part two of question one asks the jurors something very important: was Google's use of Oracle's Java APIs fair? Read More