STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Google loses Android battle and could owe Oracle billions of dollars

Google just lost a major copyright case that could cost it billions of dollars and change how tech companies approach...

Posted: Mar 28, 2018 10:24 AM
Updated: Mar 28, 2018 10:24 AM

Google just lost a major copyright case that could cost it billions of dollars and change how tech companies approach software development.

An appeals court said on Tuesday that Google violated copyright laws when it used Oracle's open-source Java software to build the Android platform in 2009.

Tuesday's ruling is the latest development in a topsy-turvy eight-year battle between Google and Oracle.

Oracle first brought its case against Google in 2010, claiming that Android infringes two patents that Oracle holds on its Java software, a ubiquitous programming language powering everything from phones to websites.

In 2012, a jury determined that Java does not deserve protection under copyright law. Two years later, an appeals court overturned the ruling, raising the question of whether Google's use of Oracle's API violated copyright law.

A jury determined in 2016 that Google's use of Oracle's APIs was legal under the copyright law's fair use doctrine, which allows the free use of copyrighted material under specific circumstances. Oracle appealed the decision, and a judge took its side on Tuesday.

"There is nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform," a panel of three Federal Circuit judges wrote in Tuesday's opinion.

Oracle said in a statement on Tuesday that the recent "decision protects creators and consumers." Google said it is weighing its next steps. It could appeal to the full slate of judges on the court.

"We are disappointed the court reversed the jury finding that Java is open and free for everyone," a Google spokesman said in a statement. "This type of ruling will make apps and online services more expensive for users. We are considering our options."

Related: Jury sides with Google in billion dollar Oracle suit

Another court will decide how much Google owes Oracle in damages.

As of 2016, Oracle was seeking about $9 billion from Google. But because APIs have become much more widespread over the years, a court could decide that Oracle deserves more, said Christopher Carani, a partner with McAndrews, Held & Malloy and a professor at Northwestern's law school.

"The numbers in this case will be staggering," he added.

The verdict is likely to eclipse the current largest copyright verdict of $1.3 billion, awarded to Oracle when it sued rival SAP in 2010.

Google isn't the only company that stands to lose from this decision. Many others rely on open-source software to develop their own platforms. Tuesday's ruling means that some will either have pay to license certain software or develop their own from scratch.

"The decision is going to create a significant shift in how software is developed worldwide," Carani said. "It really means that copyright in this context has teeth."

"Sometimes free is not really free," he added.

- CNNMoney's David Goldman contributed reporting.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312608

Reported Deaths: 7221
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21429257
Hinds20256414
Harrison17776308
Rankin13539278
Jackson13395246
Madison10051217
Lee9956173
Jones8364163
Forrest7633152
Lauderdale7215240
Lowndes6359144
Lamar620286
Lafayette6162118
Washington5320133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha460398
Panola4545104
Pearl River4495145
Marshall4387103
Warren4368120
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4089133
Union408776
Neshoba4028176
Lincoln3939110
Hancock376686
Leflore3484125
Sunflower335290
Tate331684
Pike3290105
Scott314873
Alcorn310768
Yazoo310269
Itawamba299377
Copiah295865
Coahoma293979
Simpson293788
Tippah287268
Prentiss278560
Marion268680
Leake264973
Wayne262241
Grenada259985
Adams259882
Covington256281
Newton246961
George246748
Winston226981
Tishomingo225067
Jasper220748
Attala214273
Chickasaw207057
Holmes188672
Clay184654
Stone181433
Clarke178179
Tallahatchie177840
Calhoun169532
Yalobusha162936
Smith162034
Walthall133745
Greene130233
Lawrence128223
Noxubee126834
Montgomery126742
Perry126038
Amite123442
Carroll121628
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104626
Claiborne102130
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95628
Franklin83323
Quitman79616
Choctaw75818
Wilkinson66830
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 528784

Reported Deaths: 10913
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson762251516
Mobile40864804
Madison34569501
Tuscaloosa25646451
Montgomery24264585
Shelby23355246
Baldwin20993306
Lee15800168
Calhoun14457312
Morgan14250279
Etowah13796352
Marshall12166222
Houston10506280
Elmore10017205
Limestone9935150
Cullman9617193
St. Clair9584237
Lauderdale9397238
DeKalb8813185
Talladega8183175
Walker7205279
Autauga6910107
Jackson6793110
Blount6621135
Colbert6282134
Coffee5491115
Dale4810111
Russell437938
Chilton4244111
Franklin423882
Covington4105117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia392675
Chambers3545123
Dallas3536150
Clarke350360
Marion3092100
Pike309177
Lawrence299698
Winston273572
Bibb259763
Marengo248564
Geneva247075
Pickens233559
Barbour230256
Hale221776
Butler215469
Fayette211962
Henry188544
Cherokee183845
Randolph179241
Monroe176240
Washington166839
Macon158649
Clay153356
Crenshaw151657
Cleburne148341
Lamar141234
Lowndes138453
Wilcox126528
Bullock122941
Conecuh110028
Perry107526
Coosa106828
Sumter104132
Greene92234
Choctaw60324
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 74°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 70°
A frontal system will finally leave our area and high pressure will move into our area gradually overnight and on our Wednesday. This will mean much drier air will replace the moist and unstable air that we have had for the last several days.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather