September 17, 2021

Google defeats Oracle in $9 Billion Copyright Case

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By Ross Todd, From The Recorder

SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco federal jury has sided with Google Inc. in its copyright clash with Silicon Valley rival Oracle Corp.

In a verdict handed down Thursday, 10 Bay Area jurors found that Google’s use of basic elements of the Java programming language to build its Android mobile operating system was a fair use under federal copyright law.

“Today’s verdict that Android makes fair use of Java APIs represents a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products,” Google said in a statement.

In a statement immediately following the verdict, Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley said the company would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

“We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market,” Daley said. “Oracle brought this lawsuit to put a stop to Google’s illegal behavior.”

Google’s win ends the second trial between the two tech companies. In 2012, a jury sided with Oracle on infringement but couldn’t reach a verdict on the issue of fair use. U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who oversaw both trials, upended the prior verdict by finding that the Java application programming interfaces, or APIs, in question weren’t copyrightable. The Federal Circuit reversed Alsup’s decision in 2014 and sent the case back for a trial on fair use.

Google was represented at trial by a team lead by Robert Van Nest of Keker & Van Nest.

“We’re grateful for the jury’s verdict,” Van Nest said.

Oracle was represented by a group from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe headed by Peter Bicks and Annette Hurst.

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