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Supreme Court agrees to hear Google, Oracle copyright dispute

By
Danielle Haynes
Oracle said Google unfairly used part of its API when developing its Android smartphone operating system. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Oracle said Google unfairly used part of its API when developing its Android smartphone operating system. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal by Google in a case in which Oracle accused the tech giant of violating copyright laws when developing its Android mobile platform.

The high court's decision to hear the case came more than a year and a half after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled against Google, saying the company's unauthorized use of 11,500 lines of code in Oracle's open-source Java application programming interface was unfair as a matter of law.

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Google argued its use of Oracle's software was protected under fair use because it didn't directly charge clients to use it, but Oracle said Google's actions were "devastating" to its licensing strategy as many customers switched to Android.

"[T]he fact that Android is free of charge does not make Google's use of the Java API packages non-commercial," the judges wrote.

The ruling reversed a previous district court decision in favor of Google in 2016. Oracle, which originally sued in 2010, had been seeking about $8.8 billion in damages at the time of the previous ruling.

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