Copyright case of the decade
In 2010 Oracle filed a copyright infringement suit against Google claiming that Google incorporated 11,500 lines of Oracle’s Java code into Android platform for smartphones and tablets. Android has become the world’s most popular operating system, running on more than 2.5 billion devices.
Oracle initiated the suit claiming that the application programming interfaces were copyrightable, seeking US$8.8 billion in damages. Lower courts have sided with Google, but the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned their decisions multiple times.
Google petitioned the Supreme Court in January of 2019, asking it to overturn “a devastating one-two punch at the software industry.” Microsoft, Mozilla, and several other companies supported Google’s petition, arguing that the Federal Circuit ruling would destroy developers’ ability to freely build new programs that work with existing software platforms.
Google has since written its own code and no longer requires the use of the contested APIs, but Oracle argues that it should still receive royalties to cover every single Android device ever released.
Proceedings between two tech giants have been going on for 10 years and Google calls it the “copyright case of the decade.”