On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court made an official inquiry to the Obama administration regarding Google’s appeal in a copyright dispute with Oracle Corporation. over the Android smartphone operating system that has major industry ramifications.
Oracle’s claims that Google used its Java programming platform to develop Android. The search engine giant has asked the Supreme Court to review a recent appeals court ruling that favored Oracle.
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Oracle is seeking over $1 billion in damages. In court filings, the database giant alleges Google appropriated Java code because it was hurrying to develop Android, currently the most popular smartphone platform worldwide. The issue at hand is Google’s apparent use of shortcuts called APIs created by Java to enable basic operating system processes such as connecting to the Internet.
Google’s appeal is requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court rule on critical issues regarding the application of federal copyright law with software.
The Supreme Court sent the request on Monday to U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.
Statement from Google
As Google points out, the appeals court’s reasoning could be considered an obstacle to innovation as it would prevent software developers from building on earlier work.
“If the Federal Circuit’s holding had been the law at the inception of the Internet age, early computer companies could have blocked vast amounts of technological development by claiming 95-year copyright monopolies over the basic building blocks of computer design and programming,” the tech giant argued.
Several companies filed briefs in support of with the Supreme Court, including Yahoo! Inc., Red Hat Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.
Statement from Oracle
On the other hand, Oracle asked the Supreme Court to not hear the appeal, noting its code is “original and highly creative.”
“Google was free to write its own code to perform the same functions as Oracle’s,” the company said. “Instead, it plagiarized.”
Oracle enjoyed briefs in support from Microsoft, NetApp Inc. and EMC at the appeals court level.