Oracle has scored a big win in a high-stakes copyright battle with Google as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review whether Oracle’s Java application programming interfaces are subject to copyright protection.
As Bloomberg reports, APIs allow programmers to take advantage of basic functions already built into an operating system. By using JAVA APIs, software developers don’t have to create a new formula for those features, saving time and money.
Oracle is seeking more than $1 billion in damages in its lawsuit alleging Google illegally copied Java APIs to develop the Android smartphone operating system. In an order issued Monday, the Supreme Court let stand a Federal Circuit ruling that APIs are copyrightable.
The case now goes back to a trial judge to determine whether Google’s use of the APIs in Android constituted a “fair use.”
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a win for innovation and for the technology industry that relies on copyright protection to fuel innovation,” Oracle General Counsel Dorian Daley said in a statement.
At the high court, Google contended the Federal Circuit’s reasoning would block innovation by preventing software developers from building on earlier innovations.
“If the Federal Circuit’s holding had been the law at the inception of the Internet age, early computer companies could have blocked vast amounts of technological development by claiming 95-year copyright monopolies over the basic building blocks of computer design and programming,” the company argued.
Google will continue to defend it’s position, Google spokesman Aaron Stein told Bloomberg.