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Google staves off Oracle code copyright claim

Putting an end to a contentious trial, a jury on Thursday found that Google's implementation of 37 Java APIs in Android represented fair use —rebuffing complaints by Java's nominal owner, Oracle.




A Google spokesperson called the ruling 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," according to TechCrunch. While Oracle sometimes licenses Java for commercial products, Google argued that it was exempt under fair use terms, because it transformed the code into a new product —in this case, Android.

Oracle has already indicated it will file an appeal in the case, which dates back to 2010. "We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market," said Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley.

A decision in Oracle's favor could potentially have deterred developers from tapping into third-party programming languages, something that's common practice. At the same time, some developers do rely on licensing APIs for income, necessitating protection.

Apple also famously claimed that Google stole to create Android, which resulted in a flurry of patent lawsuits, primarily against Samsung, its main competition in the phone and tablet space. These battles have largely been resolved, but the U.S. Supreme Court should soon hear a Samsung appeal of a $548 million verdict in Apple's favor. Samsung is looking to reduce the amount of money it may owe.