Oracle loses again in Java copyright case against Google

Source: Flickr user Daniel X. O'Neil

Oracle lost yet another attempt to obtain damages from Google for using Java code in Android. But the 6-year-old case likely isn’t over yet.

Oracle initially filed the lawsuit in 2010, claiming Google used 11,000 lines of Java code in Android in violation of copyright law. A federal appeals court later ruled Oracle could copyright Java code, but Google successfully argued in a new trial that its use of Java was limited and covered by fair use.

A federal jury in May determined that Google’s use of Java programming language didn’t violate copyright law, claiming the fair use doctrine enabled Google to build compatible software without obtaining a license.

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In its latest effort, Oracle accused Google of failing to disclose plans to integrate Android apps with computers running Chrome OS. That effort would undercut Google’s claims that its use of Java was limited to mobile gadgets and therefore couldn’t compete with Oracle’s own offerings, Oracle argued, nullifying Google’s claims of fair use.

Oracle argued for a new trial, but the motion was denied this week by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

“Oracle also argues that the first trial was not expressly limited to smartphones and tablets, so it was inappropriate to impose that limitation for the retrial,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup. “This isn’t correct. In 2012, at our first trial, Oracle presented no evidence of any uses beyond smartphones and tablets. The other alleged uses lay in the future and were not considered by our first jury. Google simply had not yet implemented any aspect of Android on any of the new devices at that time.”

Oracle is unlikely to throw in the towel after its latest defeat, however. Analysts say Google could lose as much as $9 billion if Oracle were to eventually win somehow, and Oracle has said repeatedly that “there are numerous grounds” to appeal the May ruling.

For more:
- read this ZDNet report
- see Judge Alsup’s order (PDF)

Related articles:
Oracle seeks more than $9B from Google in case over Java patents in Android
New Google antitrust suit over Android could provide ammo to Microsoft, Oracle
Google wins Java copyright case over Oracle on fair use grounds

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