Google in the clear: Oracle’s Java APIs deemed not copyrightable

The verdict is in, and Google is in the clear for the second time this month. Last week Judge Alsop determined that the company had not infringed the majority of Oracle’s Java-related patents, though they had, in a very minor fashion, copied short snippets of code that will likely result in moderate financial damages.

Today the judge went further by claiming that the remaining 37 Java APIs still being debated on were not copyrightable; in other words, Google is not guilty of infringing copyright because the structure, sequence, and organization of the APIs were free for others to use. Alsop determined that Google’s code was 97% original, with the remaining 3% amounting to the structure itself of the APIs. If Google was found guilty in this situation, the precedent for other companies could have been enormous: any organization deemed to copy the fundamental makeup of an API could be sued.

Oracle will get a payout from Google of around $300,000 for the nine lines of copied code and eight Java test files. Google issued a statement after the ruling, stating, “The court’s decision upholds the principle that open and interoperable computer languages form an essential basis for software development. It’s a good day for collaboration and innovation.”

Source: The Verge