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Oracle loses latest appeal in its case against Google over Java APIs

(Image credit: Image Credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock)

Oracle has once again been unsuccessful in its latest effort to obtain a new trial in its Java API copyright claim against Google. Judge William Alsup of the San Francisco District Court has denied Oracle's latest motion to have its case reheard on the grounds of misconduct on the part of Google's lawyers.

Since 2010, the two companies have been in an ongoing legal war that was ruled in Google's favour. However in the six years that have passed, Oracle has repeatedly appealed the ruling multiple times.

The latest appeal is based around the fact that the search engine failed to disclose its intent to develop tools to run its Android mobile operating system on the desktop using the Android App Runtime for Chrome (ARC). Oracle has made the case that this move nullified Google's previous argument that its use of Java APIs was limited to mobile devices and could be considered as fair use.

Judge Alsup was quick to deny Oracle's motion and reasoned that the two companies had agreed beforehand that the focus of the case was only limited to how Java APIs were used on Android smartphones and tablets. He expounded further on his decision, saying: “It may well be true that the use of the copyrighted APIs in ARC++ (or any other later use) will not qualify as a fair use, but that will not and does not mean that Google's argument on transformative use as to the original uses on trial (smartphones and tablets) was improper. That Oracle failed to detect the ARC++ documents in its possession had no consequence with the defined scope of our trial.”

According to Judge Alsup, Oracle has also been picking and choosing what data in the case should be admitted and what should be omitted. He made the point that though the ARC++ information might be useful to the company's claim, a document that was left out of the original trial could have been used to back up Google's claim that Oracle/Sun had offered an open Java API years earlier.

Alsup explained his argument, saying: “Sun itself had given away Java (including all of the lines of code in suit) in 2008 via its open-source OpenJDK.  In 2015, Google used OpenJDK to reimplement the Java APIs for the latest relase of Android, which it called Nougat.

“Google wished to use this evidence under the fourth fair use factor to show that its infringement did no more market harm than Sun itself had already invited via its OpenJDK release.” 

Image Credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.