Google has been found guilty of infringing on Oracle’s copyright over Java programming.
The US Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Oracle after Google’s Android operating system was found to have breached copyright laws surrounding Oracles’ Java programming language.
Android, which remains the worlds best selling smartphone platform was sued by Oracle to the tune of $6.1 billion dollars for incorporating parts of Java .
While the judge initially stated that Oracle could not claim copyright protections on parts of Java, the Federal Circuit Panel reversed that ruling.
“We conclude that a set of commands to instruct a computer to carry out desired operations may contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection,” Federal Circuit Judge Kathleen O’Malley wrote.
This new decision by the Federal Circuit means that software companies now face a definite uncertainty in determining how to write inter-operable computer code that do not violate copyright laws.
“What we have is a decision that will definitely shake up the software industry, stated Pamela Samuelson, a professor at UC Berkley School of Law.
Oracle attorney, E. Joshua Rosenkranz stated however that there was “nothing at all astounding in what the Federal Circuit did” and that the law has always been clear on these issues.
Google has fought back against the ruling stating that software should only be allowed to be patented, not copyrighted and that this ruling has set a “damaging precedent for computer science and software development.”
It is not yet clear how much Google has been asked to pay Oracle however it will most likely be around $1 billion.