Computer Expert Witness & Oracle Win

Oracle Corp. won against Google Inc. on Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.  The court decided Oracle could copyright parts of the Java programming language. In the 2012 District Court case, Stanford University professor and computer expert witness John Mitchell testified that Google must have copied code from Oracle’s Java platform. “I don’t think there is any way [Google] could have come up with it on their own.”

Circuit Judge Kathleen M. O’Malley wrote:

This copyright dispute involves 37 packages of computer source code. The parties have often referred to these groups of computer programs, individually or collectively, as “application programming interfaces,” or API packages, but it is their content, not their name, that matters. The predecessor of Oracle America, Inc. (“Oracle”) wrote these and other API packages in the Java programming language, and Oracle licenses them on various terms for others to use. Many software developers use the Java language, as well as Oracle’s API packages, to write applications (commonly referred to as “apps”) for desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices….

For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the 37 Java API packages at issue are entitled to copyright protection. We therefore reverse the district court’s copyrightability determination with instructions to reinstate the jury’s infringement verdict. Because the jury hung on fair use, we remand Google’s fair use defense for further proceedings consistent with this decision. With respect to Google’s cross-appeal, we affirm the district court’s decisions: (1) granting Oracle’s motion for JMOL as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google ccopied into Android; and (2) denying Google’s motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck function. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand for further proceedings.


About Karen Olson

Information Professional with twenty years experience in legal, public record, and business research. Fifteen years law firm experience.

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