Oracle Agrees Zero Damages In Google Java API Lawsuit

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In another setback Oracle has accepted zero financial damages from Google over its Java API lawsuit

Oracle has been stung with a second legal defeat from Google, after it accepted zero financial damages in its Java API lawsuit against the search engine giant.

In the landmark IT court case that began on 16 April, a federal judge ruled 31 May that Java APIs used by Google in building the now-popular mobile device operating system are not protected by copyright.

Zero Settlement

Oracle, plaintiff in the case and maintainer of the Java programming language as well as organiser of its open-source community, reiterated that it will “vigorously” appeal the verdict. The company had asked for nearly $1 billion (£650m) in restitution and an injunction against Google for using the Android OS.

The zero dollars settlement, Oracle said in court documents, was accepted “related to Google’s infringement of Oracle’s copyrights in connection with (1) the rangeCheck code in TimSort.java and ComparableTimSort.java, and (2) the eight decompiled files (seven ‘Impl.java’ files and one ‘ACL’ file).”

Judge William Alsup, who had conducted the court proceedings in San Francisco, asked Oracle lawyer Michael Jacobs whether Oracle would be continuing the case. Jacobs said, “I hope we see you again after an appeal.”

Java API

“This order does not hold that Java API packages are free for all to use without licence,” Alsup wrote in an order filed 31 May in US District Court for the Northern District of California. “It does not hold that the structure, sequence, and organisation of all computer programs may be stolen. Rather, it holds on the specific facts of this case, the particular elements replicated by Google were free for all to use under the Copyright Act.”

Because the APIs contain techniques, and since techniques by definition are not copyrightable, the decision was not a surprise to many IT professionals.

But Oracle was determined to prove that Google’s use of the open-source Java and its APIs was beyond fair use.

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