- Kimberly White/Getty Images
- Oracle on Thursday will try, once again, to get the courts to tell Google to hand over a lot of money.
- In May 2016, a jury ruled in favor of Google, saying Google’s use of bits of Oracle code in Android constituted “fair use.”
- Oracle appealed the verdict, however, and the first appeal hearing is scheduled to kick off Thursday.
- The two have been duking it out in court for years, but so far, Oracle has not been awarded the multi-billion dollar judgment it’s seeking.
Last May, Oracle suffered a well-publicized loss in its years-long lawsuit against Google over Android. Oracle appealed the verdict and the first hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
The trial was watched closely by the computer industry and included testimony from a who’s who in Silicon Valley, including Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt, and Oracle CEO Safra Catz. At once point Oracle’s Larry Ellison even called Page “evil” over the situation.
While each side has won various stages of the legal fight, the upshot is: Google has yet to be told it is on the hook to pay Oracle for Java, much less the massive, multi-billion dollar fine Oracle has been hoping for.
If the appeals court upholds the last jury verdict, which found in favor of Google, that would likely severely hamper Oracle’s attempts to keep going on this case. Google had attempted to get the Supreme Court to jump into the case in 2015 and issue a definitive ruling, but the Supreme Court declined to do so at that time, leaving it to wind its way through the lower courts first.
The trial was so technical that the judge overseeing the trial, Judge William Alsup of the northern district of California, taught himself to code just to understand the case better, The Verge reported at the time.
Oracle and Google have been battling it out for years in two separate court cases over whether Google must pay Oracle billions of dollars for bits of code copied from Java (a programming language Oracle owns) and used in Android (the language Google controls).
At issue were parts of the code called application programming interfaces (APIs), the technology that allows different computer programs to talk to each other. In May 2016, a jury ruled that Google’s use of the disputed code was “fair use.”
These lawsuits caused a lot of hand-wringing in the software industry, with pro-Google sides worrying that if Oracle won the suit, it would be awful for the software industry. Those folks worried that an Oracle win would make APIs the subject of more lawsuits and make APIs more difficult to create and share.
For those in search of more details on Oracle’s potential next moves, a policy blog from the Computer & Communications Industry Association called The Project-Disco blog has posted an interesting analysis of the case.
Both Oracle and Google declined comment.