[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday that programming interfaces in Oracle’s Java technology can be protected under US copyright law, allowing Oracle to pursue its legal case against Google [corporate websites]. The litigation arose four year ago when Oracle sued Google, alleging its Android operating system infringes on patents and copyrights related to Oracle’s Java technology. The court concluded that the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the application programming interface (API) packages are entitled to copyright protection and reversed the district court’s copyright ability determination with instructions to reinstate the jury’s infringement finding. Because the jury deadlocked on fair use, the court remanded for further consideration of Google’s fair use defense. The decision is expected to have greater implications in the software industry.
In 2012 a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] ordered Oracle to reimburse Google about $1 million for costs incurred during the course of the companies’ recent patent litigation [materials]. Earlier that year a federal jury held [JURIST report] that Google’s use of the application programming interfaces was not an infringement of Oracle’s patents. Earlier that month the jury found itself deadlocked [JURIST report] on the issue of whether Google’s use could be considered “fair use” making it difficult for Oracle to win a large damage award. The case went to trial [JURIST report] after settlement negotiations broke down.