January 18, 2021


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“The Google copyright case can be returned to a lower court.”

"The Google copyright case can be returned to a lower court."

Photo: ANP

The copyright dispute between the tech giant Google, part of Alphabet, and the software company Oracle can be referred back to the federal appeals court. This became clear during a US Supreme Court hearing on the matter, dubbed the “Copyright Case of the Decade”.

The case revolves around Google’s use of Java APIs to develop the Android operating system. The Java APIs were owned by Oracle and their use by Google was illegal, according to Oracle. Oracle would have been ousted from the smartphone market and now wants compensation in the billions. Google has used Oracle’s programming language fairly.

During the hearing, Google was asked for clarification, among other things. The tech company claims it was unable to replicate (copy) code without teaching a new programming language to millions of software developers. A judge then found that other technology companies, including Apple, had also developed new copy-free phones.

The case is being closely followed by the technology sector. A decision in favor of Oracle could have a huge impact on software development in the future and in the past.