Google scored a win over Oracle in the companies’ long-running $9 billion Java spat, although it seems unlikely that this will mark the end of the road.
Indeed, according to reports, after judge William Alsup thanked the jury, he said: “I know there will be appeals and the like.” And Oracle said it “believes there are numerous grounds for appeal and we plan to bring this case back to the federal circuit on appeal”.
The spat concerns the use of Java technology in the Android operating system, with Oracle asserting that Google had infringed its copyright. With Android coming to dominate the smartphone market, this has become a major case for the companies involved.
Google said that the latest ruling was a win for “software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products”.
At the heart of the current ruling is the issue of “fair use”, and unsurprisingly legal experts have taken a differing view of the issue.
The Guardian cited Tyler Ocha, a professor at Santa Clara University’s law school, who said that “Oracle was trying to use software to copyright to protect a portion of the software that is basically functional, and copyright isn’t supposed to protect functional things”.
But specialist website FOSS Patents said that the rules on ‘fair use’ given were “unbelievably unfair and biased”, in that “they made it sound like the hurdle for ‘fair use’ was rather low, while it’s actually just meant to be an exception (and copyright protection is the norm)”.
The case to date has seen to-and-fro between the companies, with each picking up victories at certain points.