Deconstructing Oracle America Case Study

Deconstructing Oracle America, Inc. v. Google, Inc.

From powering cell phones and car infotainment systems to reinventing the watch, computer science has played a key role in replacing our compact discs, physical cash, and taxicabs with music streaming services, mobile payment platforms, and transportation network companies. This industry-wide shift towards digital solutions corresponds to an increased demand for applications that work precisely, both independently and with one another. Applications utilize application program interfaces – oftentimes abbreviated as APIs – so that they can work in tandem with one another smoothly and efficiently. APIs are little blocks of code that help developers design programs that operate seamlessly with
…show more content…
They sued Google on the basis that Google’s Android platform copied the “structure, sequence, and organization” of thirty-seven Java APIs without permission in 2010. Google’s need for Sun’s APIs stemmed from their development of Android in 2005. They contacted Sun with the hopes of getting approval to use, adapt and open source Java, which was unsuccessful. According to court documents from Oracle America, Inc. v. Google, Inc., “The point of contention between the parties was Google 's refusal to make the implementation of its programs compatible with the Java virtual machine or interoperable with other Java programs. Because Sun/Oracle found that position to be anathema to the "write once, run anywhere" philosophy, it did not grant Google a license to use the Java API packages.” Google decided to continue developing Android, and ended up using thirty-seven of the 166 Java APIs. Specifically, Google created its own version of Java, called Dalvik. Despite being different on the surface, the structural components of Dalvik and Java were so similar that a Java program could be adapted to work in Dalvik. Interestingly, Sun was aware of Google’s usage of their APIs, but remained dormant until they got acquired by Oracle. The fact that no action was taken against Google prior to Oracle’s …show more content…
v. Google, Inc. went back to the district court of northern California, where Judge William Alsup taught himself how to code in Java to understand the logistics of the case. The former CEO of Sun Microsystems from 2006 to 2010, Jonathan Schwartz, came forward to the court saying that the APIs that Sun Microsystem produced were always free and that Sun Microsystems was always okay with Google’s use of APIs. Though Alsup could not overturn the ruling that found that APIs are copyrightable in the context of Oracle v. Google, he ruled that Google’s use of APIs was within the margins of fair use in May,

Related Documents