Litigation » Supreme Court Reverses Federal Circuit, Grants Cert in Oracle v. Google

Supreme Court Reverses Federal Circuit, Grants Cert in Oracle v. Google

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December 5, 2019

The Supreme Court will hear Google’s petition for cert in its seemingly endless litigation with Oracle. The Solicitor General recommended that the Supreme Court deny cert in September. The Court will decide whether copyright protection extends to a software interface and if Google’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use. Last March the Federal Circuit reversed a district court and ruled in favor of Oracle in the case, finding Google’s use of Java application programming interface not fair as a matter of law. That resurrected the multi-billion dollar copyright case brought by Oracle against Google. It was appealed to the Supreme Court in January 2019, after the Federal Circuit denied rehearing. Copyright practitioners will be keenly interested in the outcome of this phase of the litigation. J. Michael Keyes, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney, quoted in IPWatchdog, said “this will likely be one of the most seminal copyright cases in at least a generation, if not longer.” In addition to copyright protection for software and the scope of fair use, Keyes said that another issue implicated in the case is damages. “If Google is ultimately liable for infringement, the damages claim could well be into billions of dollars,” he said. “It’s a massive sum that underscores what is at stake and the importance of the issues.”

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