Android Copyright Case; Google Wins Legal Battle With Oracle

Search engine giant Google has won a major US court battle with the software firm Oracle. The jury upheld claims by Google and the decision was made in their favour in a long-running copyright fight over Android software used to run most of the world’s smartphones.

The claims made by Google were pronounced fair, thus bringing the trial to a close without Oracle winning any of the $9 billion (roughly Rs. 60,350 crores) in damages it requested. Oracle had argued that Google had infringed its copyright and had sought nearly $9bn (£6bn) in damages.

Android Operating System

Google uses Java in its Android smartphone operating system which powers about 80% of the world’s mobile devices. Under U.S. copyright law, “fair use” allows limited use of material without acquiring permission from the rights holder for purposes such as research.

Google argued that the company’s use of the material was “transformative” because it was used to create something entirely new, a critical point in persuading jurors that Google’s actions were protected under the legal concept of fair use.

Similar exemptions allow artists and critics to quote or reuse small portions of someone else’s work in a larger essay or creation.

Oracle contended that Google needed a license to use its Java programming language to develop Android, the operating system in 80 percent of the world’s mobile devices.

The victory for Google will cheer many other software developers, who operate much the way Google did when it comes to so-called open-source software. Unlike the traditional software created by corporations and tightly held, open-source products are released, often with some restrictions, for anyone to use and modify.

The decision, delivered in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, means that for now Oracle cannot collect anything from Google’s use of Android. The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-cv-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).