- A federal jury ruled that Google’s copying of the code was excused by fair use, but an appeals court reversed that finding
- The US Supreme Court justices asked US Solicitor General Noel Francisco’s advice on whether they should hear Google’s appeal
The US Supreme Court asked the Trump administration for its views on Oracle Corp.’s bid to force Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay at least $8 billion (Dh29.38 billion) in royalties over programming code in the Android operating system.
Google is challenging an appeals court ruling that it violated Oracle copyrights when it included some Oracle-owned Java programming code in Android, the dominant operating system in mobile devices.
The dispute between the two tech giants has split Silicon Valley for almost a decade, pitting developers of software code against companies that use the code to create programmes in what they contend is a ‘fair use’ exception to copyright law.
A federal jury ruled that Google’s copying of the code was excused by fair use, but an appeals court reversed that finding.
The justices asked US Solicitor General Noel Francisco’s advice on whether they should hear Google’s appeal.
At issue are pre-written directions known as application program interfaces, or APIs, which can work across different types of devices and provide the instructions for functions such as connecting to the internet or accessing certain types of files. By using those shortcuts, programmers don’t have to write new code from scratch for every function in their software or change it for every type of device.
The Java programming language, developed by Sun Microsystems before Oracle bought the company in 2010, lets developers write programs under what it called “write once, run anywhere.”
Google said Sun “originally applauded Google for using the Java language,” but that Oracle filed the court challenge after buying Sun.