If you’ve been following any of the news regarding Oracle and Google over the years, you’ll probably already be familiar with the fact that both companies had met in court before over Google’s use of java inside of the Android operating system. Initially, Google won against Oracle in the dispute over its use of the java APIs in Android code. However, just last year Oracle won their appeal of that initial ruling and java’s APIs were deemed subjectable to copyright protection, thus overturning the first ruling and placing the power in Oracle’s hands making it possible for them to charge licensing fees to Google and any other companies who may be using java APIs.
Google had appealed to have the decision reviewed with the Supreme Court, but as of today a decision from the Supreme Court states they won’t be opting to review the initial ruling overturn which came as a result from Oracle’s appeal. As such, the decision made by the Justice Department stating Oracle’s java APIs are subject to copyright stands. The White House also sided with Oracle last month when they backed up the decision by the Justice Department stating that APIs are in fact subject to copyright. Google apparently no longer uses those APIs in the Android code, but that still won’t keep them exempt from potential fees over past use. Google of course has stated that they will “continue to defend the interoperability that has fostered innovation and competition in the software industry.”
At this point in time it is unclear what Google’s next move will be regarding the Supreme Court’s decision, but the case is still not over. Although the Supreme Court denied Google’s appeal over the copyright of Oracle’s java API use, there is still a chance that Google’s use of the API’s could be labeled as being within the terms of the fair use doctrine, in which case Google would likely be free of paying any licensing fees over the matter. Whether or not this deemed so is also unclear. Both Oracle and Google obviously different about the ramifications of the decision, as Google feels this will only seek to hurt developers, but Oracle firmly believes the decision will only benefit the nature of competition and innovation.