Oracle fires back after Google asks Supreme Court to review Android Java lawsuit

By Luke Christou

Oracle Executive Vice President and General Counsel Dorian Daley has branded Google’s attempts to overturn a jury decision to side with Oracle in the long-running dispute over Google’s use of Java code in its Android operating system as a “fabricated concern about innovation”.

The case stems from Oracle’s purchase of Java creators Sun Microsystems in 2010, after which Oracle claimed that Google’s use of Java in its Android operating system entitled them to $8.8bn of Android revenue.

In the lawsuit, Google argues that “Sun was aware that Google was developing Android using the Java language, including the API declarations, but never objected or mentioned its Java copyrights to Google. To the contrary, Sun initially celebrated the launch of Android. Its chief executive officer publicly offered ‘heartfelt congratulations’ to Google, stating that Google had ‘strapped another set of rockets to the community’s momentum’”.

Despite the courts originally siding with Google, stating that it was a case of fair use, this decision was overturned when put to the US Court of Appeals.

As revealed yesterday, Google has now filed a petition with the Supreme Court in an attempt to get the case overturned once again. According to Google, the decision will have a “devastating impact” on computer software development if allowed to stand.

“Unless the Supreme Court corrects these twin reversals, this case will end develops’ traditional ability to freely use existing software interfaces to build new generations of computer programs for consumers,” the petition reads.

Oracle vs Google: Oracle responds to Google’s latest challenge

According to Daley, Google’s latest claims are merely an attempt to disguise its breach of copyright as a “concern” for the software development industry.

“The fabricated concern about innovation hides Google’s true concern: that it be allowed the unfettered ability to copy the original and valuable work of others as a matter of its own convenience and for substantial financial gain,” Daley responded. “This is not, and has never been, a valid justification for copying.

“The purported ‘chill on innovation’ is a well known myth. Since the initial decision of the Federal Circuit (and agreement of the Solicitor General’s Office) that the Oracle Java code copied by Google was copyright protected, the pace of innovation has only accelerated, spurring job creation and opportunity.”

“Indeed, the sky is not falling on the software industry or technology industry in general.”

In fact, unsurprisingly, Oracle feels that siding with Google could set a dangerous precedent for the industry. Should the Supreme Court overturn the case and side with Google, it could damage the “well-established” copyright laws that currently protect intellectual property from theft.

“Oracle will continue its efforts to protect and grow its own innovations, as well as those of other innovators, by ensuring that the well-established principles of copyright law are not subverted by anyone trying to cut corners,” Daley said.

“Google’s petition for certiorari [high court review] presents a rehash of arguments that have already been thoughtfully and thoroughly discredited.

“In major victories for software innovation, the Court of Appeals has twice sided with Oracle against Google. The Court of Appeals was correct each time. The Supreme Court should once again deny Google’s request to take the case.”

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