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Supreme Court Sides with Google in Landmark Copyright Suit

Supreme Court Sides with Google in Landmark Copyright Suit

Author: David A. EinhornDate: June 4, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that Google’s inclusion of Oracle’s software code in its Android mobile operating system constituted a fair use under U.S. copyright law. The 6-2 decision in Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc. concludes what had been dubbed the “copyright lawsuit of the decade.”

In 2010, Oracle America, Inc. (Oracle) filed suit against Google Inc. (Google) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Google's unauthorized use of 37 packages of Oracle's Java application programming interface (API packages) in its Android operating system infringed Oracle's patents and copyrights. APIs allow programmers to use the prewritten code to build certain functions into their own programs rather than write their own code to perform those functions from scratch. Although Oracle makes the Java platform freely available to programmers building applications, Oracle charges a licensing fee to those who want to use the APIs in a competing platform or embed them in an electronic device.

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