An appeals court in the United States on Tuesday revived a multi-billion dollar copyright case which was filed by brought by Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) against Alphabet Inc Class C (NASDAQ:GOOG)
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has said that Google’s use of Oracle’s Java development platform in order to create the Android operating system was not covered and protected under the fair-use provision of copyright law. This decision reverses a 2016 jury verdict.
The court has referred the case back to a U.S. judge based in San Francisco for a trial to determine the amount of compensation that Google owes Oracle. Oracle is seeking $9 billion in damages.
While commenting on the ruling, Google spokesperson said they are very disappointed by the fact that the court has overturned and earlier ruling. The previous ruling had established that Java is free for use by everyone. He noted that this kind of ruling is likely to make the app as well as online services more expensive for users. He added that the company is studying the ruling as it considers its options. Oracle is yet to comment on the ruling.
The case, which has been closely watched, and dates back to 2010, involves the amount of copyright protection that extends to the Java programming language that Google used to design the Android operating system and which runs most of the smartphones in the world.
Oracle is seeking damages for Google’s use of some portions of the Java language, while Google claims it should be able to use Java without paying a fee.
Oracle filed the case against Google a few days after its 2010 acquisition of Sun Microsystems, the company which designed and built the Java language and platform. In a 2012 ruling made by a district court, it was determined that that APIs are not subject to copyright. That decision was later nullified by an appeals court and the case returned to the same district court for a jury trial ovn whether the use of Java APIs by Google qualified as permitted “fair use” under the law. In a 2016 ruling, the jury gave the verdict in Google’s favor. However, Oracle appealed the decision, and on Tuesday this week, the appeals court sided with the company.