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Published on : May 12, 2014

In a ruling that will prove favorable to software giant Oracle Corp. in its legal battle with Google Inc., a U.S. appeals court has decided that the former can copyright certain aspects of the programming language Java that is used by Google in designing its popular smartphone operating system, Android.

The case, which has been the cynosure of all eyes in Silicon Valley, was decided on Friday in Washington by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The trial, which began in 2012 amid much publicity, saw Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison and Google’s CEO Larry Page testify during court proceedings. The issues broached as part of these legal proceedings touched the very core of strategies adopted by tech companies to safeguard their key intellectual property.

The Android OS is of special importance as most smartphones run on this platform. In 2010, Google was sued by Oracle as the latter claimed the use of certain patches of Java by Google in the Android OS. Oracle claimed around USD 1 billion towards copyright claims in the lawsuit it had filed.

Earlier, a federal judge in San Francisco had ruled that Oracle could not legally claim protection of copyright on the parts of Java. However, this ruling was reversed by a Federal Circuit panel comprising three judges, on Friday.

As part of this ruling, Kathleen O’Malley, Federal Circuit Judge wrote that Oracle was eligible for claiming copyright protection. Oracle reacted as being \"extremely pleased” with the decision. There was no immediate comment from Google.