Supreme Court to mull Google bid to end Oracle copyright suit
By Jan Wolfe
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday is set to consider whether to protect Alphabet Inc’s Google from a long-running lawsuit by Oracle Corp accusing it of infringing Oracle copyrights to build the Android operating system that runs most of the world’s smartphones.
The shorthanded court, down one justice following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Google’s appeal of a lower court ruling reviving the lawsuit in which Oracle has sought at least $8 billion in damages. The arguments will be held by teleconference because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A jury cleared Google in 2016, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that decision in 2018, finding that Google’s inclusion of Oracle’s software code in Android was not permissible under U.S. copyright law.
Oracle and Google, two California-based technology giants with combined annual revenues of more than $190 billion, have been feuding since Oracle sued for copyright infringement in 2010 in federal court in San Francisco. The case’s outcome will help determine the level of copyright protection for software, according to intellectual property lawyers.
Oracle accused Google of copying thousands of lines of computer code from its popular Java programming language without a license in order to make Android, a competing platform that has harmed Oracle’s business.
Google has said the shortcut commands it copied into Android do not warrant copyright protection because they help developers write programs