Oct 22, 2020

Oracle v Google; the decade long dispute nears an end

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments from both Google and Oracle in the decade long lawsuit regarding copyright and Google’s Android software.

In 2010, Oracle, the California based technology giant, sued Google in the Federal Court of San Francisco alleging copyright infringement. Three trials and two appeals later, the case was heard via teleconference in the Supreme Court on 7 October.

The subject matter of the dispute relates to the Android technology, developed by Google and used in smart phones across the world. In the development of the Android software, Google has allegedly used Oracle’s computer code from its popular Java programming language without license. Google has argued that the Java code should not be protected under copyright laws as it is the “only way” to create new programs. Oracle has argued that a license should still have been obtained. Google has also raised the fair use defence, arguing that while a work may be protected by copyright, if it has been transformed in to a new work then this use is permissible.

Justice Neil Gorsuch of the Supreme Court raised an interesting question: “What do we do about the fact that the other competitors, Apple, Microsoft ... have, in fact, been able to come up with phones that work just fine without engaging in this kind of copying?”.

A ruling in this billion dollar lawsuit which will shape the technology industry is expected at the end of June 2021.

If you have any questions about this or any other IP issue, please contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000, or by email at legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

in: Copyright, EU/International

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