Jury rules for Google in $9B fight with Oracle

Jury rules for Google in $9B fight with Oracle

A jury ruled Thursday that Google was within its legal rights to copy parts of a programming language owned by Oracle in a case many called critical to the future of software development.

Google copied parts of the Java language’s application programming interface, which different pieces of software use to talk to each other, while building its smartphone operating system, Android.

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Oracle argued it had had a copyright on elements of the programming language that Google had mimicked and that the company should have obtained a license to use it.

But the jury agreed with Google’s argument that its actions were covered by fair use exemptions to copyright law.

Google faced the prospect of a roughly $9 billion judgment in the case.

Oracle said it will appeal the decision.

“We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market,” Dorian Daley, Oracle's general counsel, said in a statement. “We believe there are numerous grounds for appeal and we plan to bring this case back to the Federal Circuit on appeal.”

Google’s victory is good news for advocates who said Oracle’s position in the case could endanger the way software is developed. They argued that making application programming interfaces, or APIs, subject to copyright law would slow software developers and hinder innovation.

“Today's verdict that Android makes fair use of Java APIs represents a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement after the verdict.

The Supreme Court rejected a request to take up the long-running case last year, sending it back to the lower courts for the retrial that was decided Thursday.