In the battle against Oracle over the use of java within Android, Google was originally the victor in a ruling that stated APIs could not be subject to copyright. After years of battling it out that ruling was overturned just a couple days ago on Friday, saying that APIs are in fact subject to copyright. Since APIs are a big portion of Android Google is obviously not happy with the overturning of the original ruling, but the battle isn’t entirely over as the court still has to rule on Google’s last defense. In a statement to Business Insider Google said that they were disappointed by the ruling, with feelings that the ruling sets a negative standard for computer science.
At this point in time Google doesn’t necessarily owe anything to Oracle, but in the end, if their defense ends up getting them no change they could end up paying nearly $1 billion or more for the use of the APIs within every Android handset that has ever been sold, but even if Google ends up having to pay $1 billion that’s a lot better than the $6 billion that Oracle was wanting in the first place. The $1 billion in royalties is not yet final, and Google could end up only paying as little as $300,000 , or it could end up paying Oracle nothing at all depending on if they’re able to get the ruling overturned yet again. Google’s defense is stating that even if the APIs are subject to copyright, that they’re OK to use within Android under the Fair Use Doctrine. Both companies have spent large sums already over the years fighting this case in court, and like with any lawsuit battle over copyright or patent infringement(Samsung vs Apple for example), lawyers come out on top while included parties battling it out against each other end up wasting valuable time and money. We suppose it’s really the principle of the matter right?
The fear, if the ruling on copyrighted APIs stands, is that it could be a huge mistake that only ends up resulting in more litigation and court battles within the industry. As of now there hasn’t been any decisions made over Google’s final defense in the case, so the story is still developing.