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Supreme Court Declines Google's Request To Hear Appeal In Oracle Java Suit

Oracle and Google have been battling for five years over Java in Android, but a new Supreme Court decision could set the final stages for their long-running copyright dispute.

Oracle on Monday scored a big win in its 5-year-old copyright battle with Google over its use of Java technology in the Android operating system, as the Supreme Court declined to hear Google's appeal of a lower court ruling.

Google argues that its use of Java in Android falls under fair use protections and that Oracle shouldn't be able to copyright Java application programming interfaces (APIs). The case will now return to a federal appeals court, which ruled in Oracle's favor in May 2014.

"Today's Supreme Court decision is a win for innovation and for the technology industry that relies on copyright protection to fuel innovation," Oracle General Counsel Dorian Daley said in a statement.

[Related: Oracle Rejoices As Supreme Court Is Advised Not To Review Google Java Suit]

"We will continue to defend the interoperability that has fostered innovation and competition in the software industry," Google said in a statement sent to media outlets.

Java is a widely used programming language that Oracle gained control of in its 2010 acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Some industry experts said they believe an Oracle victory in the case could dramatically alter the way software is developed, since Java usage is widespread.

If Oracle ends up winning the lawsuit, that could have ramifications that go far beyond Android, Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westborough, Mass.-based Google partner, told CRN.

"Should Oracle prevail, the market may likely shift away from Java to other platforms -- both current ones and ones that have yet to be created -- as the use of derivative works for Java is widespread," Falcon said.

Oracle sued Google in 2010, claiming its use of Java in Android violated several of its patents. Oracle has said it plans to seek more than $1 billion in damages from Google.

In 2012, a court ruled that Google's use of Java in Android didn't violate Oracle's patents, but a federal appeals court overturned that ruling last May. Google asked the Supreme Court to review the case last October, but last month the Obama administration advised the court not to do so.

With the winds now blowing in Oracle's favor, Google will now focus on getting the court to agree with its contention that Java APIs aren't copyrightable, and the final ruling could have a major impact on the future of the software industry.


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