Argument analysis: Justices debate legality of Google’s use of Java interfaces in Android software code
October 12, 2020 | software | No Comments
The justices finished up the first week of the new term by finally hearing argument in Google v. Oracle, a case that has been pending at the Supreme Court since the fall of 2018. The high-stakes dispute presents a challenge by Oracle (the current owner of a copyright in the Java platform created by Sun Microsystems) against the Android operating system, which Google designed when it entered the smartphone market.
Google wanted Android to be accessible to developers familiar with Java. Accordingly, although Google purchased or rewrote from scratch all the code that provides the functionality of Android, it reused the “declaring” code from Java (about 11,000 lines) that programmers use to call up particular commands. (You might imagine that it reused phrases like “Open Sesame,” but created anew the mechanisms to cause doors to open and shut.) A jury held that Google’s actions were “fair use,” but the