US Supreme Court Seeks Trump’s Input On Oracle’s Android Lawsuit

The US Supreme Court has taken what outsiders will consider an odd decision, after it asked the Trump administration for its views on the Google-Oracle copyright feud over Android.

Essentially, the highest court in America has asked the White House on its opinion on whether it should hear Google’s bid to end Oracle’s long running copyright infringement lawsuit.

The US Supreme court does occasionally seek the advice of the incumbent President on whether to take up a particular case. In 2015 for example the Supreme Court rejected a previous Google appeal after the administration of former President Barack Obama recommended against hearing it.

Long lawsuit

But this legal battle has been ongoing for the past nine years, despite Google seeming to have scored a major victory in 2016.

Oracle had actually sued Google all the way back in August 2010, and claimed that Google with the popular Android operating system had infringed Java patents, which Oracle acquired with Sun Microsystems back in 2010.

Oracle had been seeking up to $9.3 billion (£6.5bn) in reparations, a figure that reflected the quick growth of the market for mobile devices, which has eclipsed the conventional PC market.

The case dragged on for six years until in 2016 when it finally seemed to over, after a jury in a San Francisco courtroom ruled that Google did not unfairly appropriate parts of the Java platform.

But in 2018 that defeat for Oracle was overturned by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which specialises in intellectual property disputes, Reuters reported.

It found that Google impermissibly used Oracle’s software code in Android under US copyright law.

Trump views

Essentially the Federal Circuit last year rejected Google’s argument that its use of Oracle’s “application programming interfaces” was permitted under the so-called fair use doctrine of the 1976 Copyright Act, because by adapting them to a mobile platform it transformed them into something new, Reuters reported.

And now in April 2019, the US Supreme Court is mulling whether to take up Google’s appeal of the lower court ruling reviving the lawsuit.

Reuters said that the justices did not give President Donald Trump’s Justice Department a deadline for its response in the case.

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Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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