The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG,GOOGL) Google did not infringe copyrights rules against Oracle while building the Android operating system, handing Google LLC the win in the case.
The court ruled 6-2 in favor of Google, saying that their use of the programming interface in question, Java SE, was not used unlawfully. The claim of Google copying 11,500 lines of JAVA codes was fair.
However, the ruling does not answer whether APIs are copyrightable or not. Justice Stephen Breyer said, “To decide no more than is necessary to resolve this case, the Court assumes for argument’s sake that the copied lines can be copyrighted, and focuses on whether Google’s use of those lines was a ‘fair use.'”
Breyer added that Google used “only what was needed to allow users to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program.”
Oracle was seeking as much as $9 billion in damages.
In response to the ruling, Oracle’s General Counsel Dorian Daley said, “The Google platform just got bigger and market power greater — the barriers to entry higher and the ability to compete lower. They stole Java and spent a decade litigating as only a monopolist can. This behavior is exactly why regulatory authorities around the world and in the United States are examining Google’s business practices.”
Meanwhile, Google called the ruling a “victory for consumers, interoperability, and computer science.”
“The decision gives legal certainty to the next generation of developers whose new products and services will benefit consumers,” Google’s chief legal officer Kent Walker said in a statement.
GOOG is currently trading at $2,227.95, up $90.20 or 4.22%, on the Nasdaq. ORCL is trading at $74.67, up $2.86 or 3.98%.
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