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Oracle sought $ 9 billion in compensation from Google for copying more than 11,000 lines of computer code to develop its Android operating system. (Image courtesy)
The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Google on Monday in its legal battle against US software publisher Oracle, to determine whether the internet giant has the right to copy parts of the Java programming language to develop the Android operating system.
In its decision, the highest US court deemed Google Code’s use of Java a “legitimate use” in relation to intellectual property, putting an end to a resounding saga involving billions of dollars of copyright.
“We came to the conclusion that in this case, where Google has re-used a user interface by taking only what is necessary to allow users to benefit from their cumulative talents, Google’s copy of the user interface. Sun Java programming (API) represents the legitimate use of this content.” Judge Stephen Breyer wrote on behalf of the majority.
Six members of the Supreme Court voted for Google, and two against. Amy Connie Barrett, who was appointed by Donald Trump but was not confirmed by the Senate when the Supreme Court considered the case, did not participate in the vote.
In the original complaint, Oracle sought $ 9 billion in damages from Google for copying more than 11,000 lines of computer code to develop the Android operating system, which is used by billions of mobile devices around the world.
Two first-instance courts ruled in Google’s favor, but the federal appeals court took the opposite direction in 2018, prompting the California giant to turn to the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court got the right decision,” replied John Bergmeier of Public Knowledge, an organization that specializes in intellectual property issues. “The jury in the first instance courts concluded that Google’s use of the Java API was a legitimate use and the analysis came to the same conclusion.”