After a two-weeks trial, a federal jury ruled yesterday that Google’s use of 37 Java APIs in the Android mobile operating system can be considered as “fair use,” which means the search giant didn’t infringe on Oracle’s proprietary rights over the Java programming language.
Google’s win, even if temporary for now until the appeal deadline passes, is a landmark win for developers all around the world, who often use all kinds of APIs to build their apps, regardless of programming platform.
US District Judge William Alsup, the man at the center of this lawsuit ever since 2010, when preliminary hearings started, and after 2012, when official procedures began, has been criticized during the trial, being called “,” because of his lack of technical know-how.
Infamous will remain the moment when Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, tried to explain what Java APIs are using a power plugs analogy. Later, Jonathan Schwartz, former Sun CEO, tried a similar explanation using menus and hamburgers.
Google won the first trial in 2012 but then lost the appeal
If Google had lost the lawsuit, many similar cases would have popped up in courts, with various companies and copyright trolls going after other products where Java APIs have been used.
Google would have also taken a big financial hit, because, at the end of March, Oracle submitted a request forin financial damages.
The Google vs. Oracle lawsuit has been raging for years, and during its first trial, Google won as well. Oracle appealed, won the appeal, and Google asked for a ruling from the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court declined to hear Google’s case, but at the, sent the lawsuit back to a Federal Court for a retrial.
As soon as the jury gave its verdict and attendees cleared the courtroom, Oraclethey planned to appeal.