US Supreme Court to hear Google bid to end Oracle copyright suit


The case stems from Google's development of its hugely popular Android operating system by using Oracle's Java programming language.

At issue is the way Google used Java in Android. Oracle is asking for $9 billion in damages. Oracle is demanding damages of $8.8 billion from Google, a sum that dwarfs the current $1.3 billion record for a copyright infringement case, in which Oracle was also the plaintiff.

Google argued that Sun "applauded" the use of Java, and that the lawsuit came only after that firm was acquired by Oracle.

"We welcome the Supreme Court's decision to review the case and we hope that the Court reaffirms the importance of software interoperability in American competitiveness", Google senior VP of global affairs Kent Walker said in a statement provided to El Reg. "Developers should be able to create applications across platforms and not be locked into one company's software", Walker said.

Google, part of Alphabet Inc, said an Oracle victory would chill software innovation.

Originally published November 15, 12:19 p.m. PT. Update, 12:46 p.m.: Adds comment from Oracle.

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The Trump administration is backing Oracle at the Supreme Court and urged the justices to reject the appeal.

Oracle says the Java APIs are freely available to those who want to build applications that run on computers and mobile devices.

The appeal encompasses two decisions by the Federal Circuit in the six-year-long battle.

The shortcut commands that Google copied into Android do not warrant copyright protection because they help developers write programs to work across platforms, a key to software innovation and the information age, Google said in a legal filings, adding that its use was fair.

The case has whipsawed since the start with Google twice losing at the Federal Circuit. Should Google win on either question, that would end the case.