Google has been in the news a lot more than usual over the last few weeks due to the developer conference, Google I/O, which took place last week. However, the last two weeks has also seen Google headlines of a very negative nature. These were based around an ongoing court battle with Oracle over the use of Java. To cut to the chase, that battle is now over and the ruling is in and Google has been found ‘innocent’ of the charges with the jury deciding that the use of java by Google was one which was of “fair use.”
In fact, if there was ever a doubt, it seems that there was not with the jury as reports are confirming that the jury unanimously agreed on the verdict. Which should prove to be of additional reassurance to those over at Google and those who make use of similar tools under a ‘fair use’ policy. However, this is unlikely to be the end of the issue as it seems Oracle has already decided they will be appealing the verdict. With Dorian Daley, Oracle’s General Counsel stating “We strongly believe that Google developed Android by illegally copying core Java technology to rush into the mobile device market.” And further adding, “Oracle brought this lawsuit to put a stop to Google’s illegal behavior. We believe there are numerous grounds for appeal.” Of course, with Google already having been vindicated in a court of law, it is likely to provide difficult for Oracle to have the verdict overturned. Although, that notion is unlikely to stop them from trying.
While this was primarily being seen as a battle of copyright against the principle of fair use, the repercussions of this particular case were extremely big. It has been widely reported that Oracle was seeking damages to the tune of $9 billion from what Oracle determined as their fair share of the profits Google has made from Android, due to the operating system allegedly making use of the relevant Java APIs. However, Google had defended their position by stating that they did not use the APIs as is, but instead used an adapted version of them and under the principle of fair use. So while this was very high-profile court case, it was also one which had some very high-profile damages attached, if Google had been found in breach of copyright law.