Oracle has appealed to Google that it uses the Java API without permission to Android, and has been fighting for nearly a decade. In 2014, google continued to seek a review of the API’s copyright protection, but it was found that the U.S. Supreme Court had finally accepted Google’s appeal, although the lawsuit, which also attracted attention for its massive damages of 8.8 billion U.S. dollars, was made in 2014.
In January 2010, after acquiring Sun Microsystems, java developer, Oracle filed a lawsuit alleging that “Google infringes the copyrights to Java-related patents and Java APIs acquired through the acquisition.” Google used the API on Android, but argued that it is not copyrighted based on traditional API thinking. In 2014, while the API was recognized as subject to copyright protection, Google won a 2016 trial in which it fought over whether the use of java API was fair use or not. However, the u.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018 has been fighting for many years, including Oracle’s reversal victory. In connection with the suit, Google has asked the Supreme Court to review the issue of “whether the software interface will be a work, and filed a petition on January 24, 2019.” Google argues that the court’s decision to determine the boundaries of copyright law is not only important for copyright law, but also has a significant impact on the future of software development.
Google and Oracle are not the only parties to focus on this trial. Microsoft, Mozilla, and several other companies have upheld Google’s petition, pointing out that the Circuit Court of Appeals’s decision destroys the ability of developers to generate programs that run on software platforms. Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization, have also expressed Google’s support. Copyright iscopyrightst James Grimmelmann expressed concern that “the decision of the Court of Appeals for The Circuit threatens the continued vitality of software innovation.” Protecting the copyright of the API will bring lawsuits against people who acquire old software rights and develop new software, just as Oracle bought Sun Microsystems and launched a lawsuit against Google. There is a risk of creating a new patent troll. Grimmelmann also noted that to avoid getting involved in litigation, companies may intentionally eliminate compatibility with competitors, potentially compromising user experience. On November 15, 2019, the Supreme Court accepted Google’s appeal and announced that it would hold a copyright hearing on the API. Kent Walker, Google’s Global Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, said, “We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to review this lawsuit and I hope the court reaffirms the importance of software interoperability in America’s competitiveness.
Developers should be able to create applications across platforms and should not be tied to specific corporate software,” he commented against The Verge.